JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After months of uncertainty about whether Duval County Public Schools employees would be allowed paid time off for COVID-19 emergencies, the board voted unanimously Tuesday morning to approve a deal that would retroactively provide it to teachers and staff members as of the beginning of the school year.
The approved deals provide 24 hours of paid leave for workers who contract COVID-19 and are unable to work and they provide 40 hours for vaccinated employees who catch the coronavirus — as well as those who have a religious or medical exemption.
The deals also provide all DCPS employees up to 32 hours of paid leave for COVID-19 testing, regardless of that employee’s vaccination status.
The agreements approved Tuesday also provide member employees a $200 incentive payment if they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 10 or they’ve received an approved exemption.
Those cash incentives will cost the district an estimated $2,445,260, which will be tapped from the federal or state COVID-19 funds.
The board’s attorney said that seven DCPS employees have submitted requests for a religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine, of which, two were denied.
Also during Tuesday morning’s meeting, the board approved an updated policy for dealing with communicable diseases during pandemics and epidemics.