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VERIFY: Yes, a school district may require employees to use personal days for COVID-19 quarantine

School districts show different quarantine guidelines, and some require employees to use their own personal/sick days to cover the required absence.

AUSTIN, Texas — With VERIFY, we help you sort out the facts. We show our process and our sources.

Question:

“Can you verify that school districts in our area will require faculty to isolate for 10 days if they get COVID-19 but will not be providing COVID days?”

Result:

True: School districts may have different quarantine guidelines and may require employees to use their own personal/sick days to cover the required absence.

Sources:

Process:

The TEA released State guidance on July 28. It shows employers can get tax credits for having emergency paid sick leave. It’s voluntary.

The document shows, “Local education agencies (LEAs), as employers, have the exclusive authority to make leave determinations in accordance with and subject to federal law and Department of Labor (DOL) guidance.”

“Each district has their own protocol and guidelines. Each ISD has their own set of rules of determinations around the state,” said Jamal Robinson, TABSE treasurer

“Legally speaking, yes, districts could require employees to use their personal sick days if they're quarantined due to COVID. However, districts across Texas have been provided federal funds to be used specifically for this purpose. They also have been given leeway to provide those days. They do not have to charge them from the teachers as well. They may provide those days as a district,” Zeph Capo, Texas AFT president.

“We're just taking precautions and looking at the data as it comes in. I believe our ISD's will make the best decision for our students to continue education in a safe manner,” Robinson said.

Our VERIFY team looked at the five largest districts in Central Texas. Each one shows a similar 10-day quarantine policy for any employee who tests positive for COVID-19.  

Austin ISD, Leander ISD and Round Rock ISD require employees to use personal days. Hays CISD wants the school board to offer a vaccine incentive, covering the days for breakthrough cases. 

“The proposed incentive program would allow quarantine time off for employees who are fully vaccinated, but who may experience a break-through case of COVID and test positive. Employees who have a medically documented reason they cannot receive the vaccine would also qualify for the benefit, if needed,” a Hays CISD back-to-school newsletter shows.

The proposal is set to go before the Hays CISD school board on Aug. 23.

Pflugerville did not respond to our inquiry regarding sick leave pay.

If you have a question for our VERIFY team, email verify@kvue.com.

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