COVID leave extended by Allen School Board

Published 12:29 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022

OBERLIN — With COVID surging still, the Allen Parish School Board has agreed to extend paid leave hours for school employees who are out of school due to COVID related reasons.

The measure will extend eight days of COVID leave through June 30 under the board’s Emergency Family and Medical Leave and Emergency Paid Sick Leave policy.

“We are back to seeing COVID cases again so the board has decided to extend the leave for the rest of the (school) year,” Superintendent Kent Reed said.

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Employees eligible for the additional paid leave include those who are unable to work because they have tested positive for COVID or are experiencing symptoms and those who are quarantined due to exposure.

Reed said the school district is currently working through COVID cases that are popping up in schools since schools reopened following the Christmas break.

“We are dealing with this on a daily basis and appreciate the employees of our school system stepping up to help out when needed,” he said.

Although the Omicron variant is not making people as sick, Reed said several classrooms through the parish had to be close last week due to positive COVID cases and close contact cases being reported.

Parents are being encouraged to monitor their children’s symptoms. Any parent who has a concern is asked to let their child stay home.

Reed said the Louisiana Department of Health’s new five-day quarantine and isolation guidelines are helping move schools forward during the ongoing COVID surge and keeping schools open.

“We are trying out best to stay open because we know it is a hardship on our parents when we have to close down,” Reed said. “By being able to stay open we are also providing face-to-face learning for our students.”

Students or employees who test positive or are considered a “close contact” must be out of school for five days.

Those who test negative and are symptom free after five days can return to school or work, but will be required to wear a mask for an additional five days. Those who refuse to wear a mask upon returning must stay home an additional five days.

Schools will continue to practice social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing on a regular basis while continuing to closely monitor reported cases, he said.