Schools

North extending COVID-related emergency pay

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LINDEN — North Montgomery School Corp. is extending coronavirus-related emergency pay another two-and-a-half months for employees affected by the pandemic.

Up to 10 days of paid sick time and paid family or medical leave will be available to workers who have not exhausted the benefit under a policy approved during a special school board meeting Friday.

The policy mainly affects hourly workers who are granted fewer sick days or leave time than salaried employees, along with aides, food service workers and bus drivers.

“We would like to make sure we take care of those people because, one, we don’t want to lose them and, two, again nobody asked for any of this,” superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran told the board.

A federal COVID-19 relief measure that expired Dec. 31 mandated businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including public employers, to allow workers to take up to two weeks of virus-related paid sick time. Businesses received a tax credit to cover the cost.

The program was extended until the end of March as part of the new stimulus package approved before Christmas, but it’s no longer mandatory for businesses.

“On paper, it sounds like a good idea not to [participate],” Moran said, “but if we quarantine someone because we’re telling them you’ve got to stay home because you’re a close contact … we feel like we need to extend that pay,” Moran said.

Under the district’s policy, employees with no emergency leave time remaining will be required to use their own sick days. Beyond that, virus-related pay would be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Emergency pay will not be given to quarantined teachers with the ability to teach virtually.

The district is expecting additional funding through the CARES Act, which can be used to pay for substitute teachers. Moran said figures aren’t currently available but that schools have been told up to four times as much funding will be available than before.

In other business, the board:

• Re-elected officers for 2021, including president Gary Bohlander, vice president Terresa Hatke and secretary Jess Cain. It was the first meeting for Darrin Bechtel, who was elected to the board in November.

• Approved the resignation of bus driver Sue Schenck and a leave of absence for Connie Whitehead from approximately Jan. 6-15.

• Approved the hiring of Veronica Herandez-Perez, food service sub; Kevin Brooks, Montgomery United Band assistant director; Andy Simpkins, United Band director; Hailey France, volunteer gymnastics coach; Monte Bushman, high school dive coach, Katharyn Sabens, sixth grade girls basketball coach; Jodi Webster, middle school wrestling assistant; and Garritt Koopman, volunteer middle school wrestling assistant.

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