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School board OKs covid leave policy

by Marc Hayot | September 12, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Siloam Springs School Board members unanimously approved a new coronavirus leave policy for the current school year during Thursday's school board meeting.

The policy will be in effect from July 1, 2021, until June 30, 2022, and only during such time as no other federal or state coronavirus policy is in effect for the benefit of district employees, according to a report.

Under the policy, the school district will provide up to an additional 10 days of paid leave for its employees who meet the following requirements:

• The employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

• The employee experiences coronavirus symptoms and seeks a diagnosis.

• The employee is a probable close contact or close contact to an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus.

• The employee needs to care for a dependent who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order from the district; a medical professional or the Arkansas Department of Health.

During its meeting Aug. 12, the board proposed a coronavirus leave policy similar to what the school district did last spring for its employees and the district put that out to the Personnel Policy Committee (PPC)s for both certified and classified employees, said Superintendent Jody Wiggins.

"You all proposed it to the PPC, they've had time to look it over and we invited the PPCs here tonight to give you feedback," Wiggins said.

Classified PPC President John Blair could not attend the meeting but sent the following statement: "Classified Personnel Policy Committee has looked at the covid leave policy and I'll agree it would be a benefit to Siloam Springs School District employees and strongly encourage the board to approve it."

Lori Boyd, the president of the certified PPC, also was unable to attend but gave Director of Assessment and Accountability Kelly Svebek the authority to speak on their behalf because she sits in on their meetings, Wiggins said. Svebek said the certified PPC is also in favor of the policy.

An additional step is required to approve the policy since the school year has begun, Wiggins said.

"For it to take effect immediately, our faculty will have to vote on it," Wiggins said.

Wiggins did not say when that vote will take place.

The school board also heard and approved the following items:

• Celebrations for the teachers of the year.

• The minutes from the Aug. 12 school board meeting.

• Reports from Wiggins and Assistant Superintendent Amy Carter. Assistant Superintendent Shane Patrick was not present.

• August 2021 financial statement.

• Minority teacher and administrator recruitment plan.

• Tuition agreement with Northwest Technical Institute.

• Division of Elementary and Secondary Education 2021 Statement of Assurance.

• Arkansas Department of Education Statement of Assurances for programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

• Approve the following teachers to work through their preparatory period during the Fall 2021 semester: Jarred Wyatt; Shea Gregory; Kendra Woodlee and Anthony Coffey.

• Agreement with Milestone Construction Company LLC.

• Resignation of Cindy Stinnett, full-time high school math.

• Hiring of the following licensed staff for the 2021-2022 school year: Cindy Stinnett part-time high school math; Ginger Brown, Siloam Springs Virtual Academy special education teacher.

• Student transfers into the Siloam Springs School District: from Farmington: one; from Gentry four; from Springdale two.

• Act 1120 Resolution of salary increases over five percent comparing to 2019-2020 to 2020-2021.

• Summer hire list.

• Bus bid.

Print Headline: School board OKs covid leave policy

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