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Absences related to COVID-19

Read the DOE's Personnel Memo No. 1 of the 2021-22 school year

Getting the vaccine & side effects

Will staff get time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and/or receive a booster shot?

Members will receive up to two hours of paid release time per vaccine dose. You must provide at least three days of advance notice to your principal/supervisor for any such absence so appropriate coverage can be arranged. You will need to provide documentation of the appointment as well as your receipt of the vaccine to your administrator.

If I have side effects after taking the COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot and feel sick, am I entitled to paid time off?

Yes, if symptoms develop within three days after receiving a vaccine or booster dose.

If your only symptom is a fever lasting less than 24 hours after receiving the vaccine, you are eligible for excused leave at full pay for up to two days. If your fever lasts more than 24 hours after receiving the vaccine, you are eligible for excused leave for up to two weeks. However, if you are out of work for more than three days, you must if you show documentation of a COVID-19 diagnostic test during your absence and the date you received the results. You must use your own sick leave for additional time taken after receiving a negative test result or if you do not seek diagnostic testing.

If you have symptoms of fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches, joint pain, nausea or vomiting with no fever, you are eligible for excused leave at full pay for up to two weeks. However, if you are absent for more than three days, you must provide documentation showing you took a COVID-19 diagnostic test during your absence and the date you received the results. You must use your own sick leave for additional time taken after receiving a negative test result or if you do not seek diagnostic testing.

If you exhibit symptoms other than those described above that are consistent with vaccine side effects and cannot work or work remotely, you may be eligible for excused leave at full pay for up to two consecutive weekdays. You must use your own sick leave balance for any additional time taken.

Testing positive

If I have symptoms of COVID-19 but have not tested positive, must I use CAR days if I am absent? 

You may take an excused leave at full pay for up to two weeks, but must also provide documentation that you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking diagnosis with a PCR test within three days after you exhibited symptoms.

If I test positive for COVID-19, how much paid leave time am I eligible to receive? 

If you have a documented, positive COVID-19 test and are unable to work remotely, you are eligible for excused leave at full pay without needing to use CAR days until you are cleared to return to work. Excused leave may not exceed four calendar weeks. If you are hospitalized, you can continue to receive excused leave until two calendar weeks (10 working days) after you have been released from the hospital or rehabilitation facility. 

If a member has COVID-19 and needs hospital care, how long will they continue to be paid? 

If a member has COVID-19 and is hospitalized or needs to enter a rehabilitation facility, they will continue to receive excused leave until two calendar weeks (10 working days) after they have been released from the hospital or rehabilitation facility.

Are members who work part-time eligible to take a leave if they test positive for COVID-19 or are under quarantine orders? 

Part-time employees may receive excused leave for the number of hours that the employee is expected to work over a two-week period. If expected hours cannot be readily determined, part-time employees may receive excused leave for the average number of hours that the employee worked over a two-week period over the six months preceding the leave.

Care for others

Will I be paid if I am caring for someone who must quarantine?

If you are caring for an individual subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order, you may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of excused leave at partial pay. Partial pay equals two-thirds of your regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day or a total of $2,000. You must demonstrate that this individual depends on you for care and you are unable to work remotely while providing care. All DOE employees are eligible for this leave including school nurses.

You may also use CAR days, annual leave or sick leave instead of excused leave at partial pay, but it cannot exceed a total of 12 weeks.

Will I be paid if my child has to quarantine and needs to study remotely from home? 

If you are caring for an individual subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order, you may be eligible for 12 weeks of excused leave at partial pay. Partial pay equals two-thirds of your regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day or a total of $2,000. You must demonstrate that this individual depends on you for care and you are unable to work remotely while providing care. All DOE employees are eligible for this leave including school nurses.

You may also use CAR days, annual leave or sick leave instead of excused leave at partial pay, but it cannot exceed a total of 12 weeks.

Excused leave time

What type of documentation am I required to submit before applying for a COVID-related leave of absence?

DOE employees must be able to provide documentation, if requested, to support their request for an excused leave at full or partial pay. This documentation could be from a health care provider, a school, a daycare provider, and/or governmental order, as applicable. Extended leaves may be subject to further medical review by DOE.

I am at heightened risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19 (because of underlying conditions, age, etc.). My doctor advised me to self-quarantine due to exposure to someone who tested positive. Am I eligible for excused leave time? 

Yes, you are eligible for excused leave time if you are unable to work remotely. You must provide documentation, if requested, from a licensed health care provider stating that you are unable to work in person as a result of the need to quarantine.

Quarantines

If I travel and am required to quarantine upon my return, am I eligible to use paid leave time to cover that absence? 

No. Quarantine required as a result of a government travel advisory is not eligible for excused leave. You must use your CAR balance to cover your absence. 

I have been notified to quarantine for the second time this school year. How much excused leave time can I use before I need to use my CAR days?

Members can receive two weeks of paid excused leave for COVID-related absences, even if they have multiple or repeat qualifying circumstances, without charges to your CAR bank. After you have used up the maximum amount of two weeks, any additional time needed will be charged to your CAR balance.