MUSD to provide paid sick leave for staff out with COVID

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Maricopa Unified School District Administrative Office. [Brian Petersheim Jr]

The Maricopa Unified School District governing board voted unanimously Wednesday to provide up to 10 days of emergency paid leave for employees who have contracted COVID-19 or one of its variants. The vote was 4-0, with board member Ben Owens absent.

To qualify for the emergency paid leave, the person must be a full-time or part-time employee; substitute teachers do not qualify for the program. The employee must be personally infected with the virus and will be required to produce verifiable documentation of a positive COVID diagnosis and include that documentation with the form they present to the district to qualify for the paid emergency leave.

Absences due to quarantining or caring for a family member with COVID will not qualify.

The program will be effective through June 15, 2022, and will be retroactive to Oct. 11, 2021, when the district returned to school following fall break.

Pay reimbursement is limited to a total of 10 workdays. Any general leave days used by the employee due to a positive COVID diagnosis will be restored to that employee’s accrued leave.

“We went ahead and went back to October 11, that’s the first day after fall break when we noticed an uptick in COVID-related absences at that time,” said Jacob Harmon, MUSD’s Director of Business who presented the proposal. “We’re ending a little bit before June 30th because the 15th is the last payroll date of the fiscal year. It will be an administrative burden to go back at all, but we talked about going back to the beginning of the year, but it’s going to be difficult already to manage going back to Oct. 11 so we thought this date would handle most of the cases that came out.”