In a special meeting lasting fewer than seven minutes, Nacogdoches School Board members voted to extend paid sick leave provisions put in place last year as part of a federal program to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Congress implemented the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in 2020, but failed to extend the program nationwide past its Dec. 31 expiration date. As a result, a quorum of NISD board members voted independently on a resolution to continue the paid-sick leave provisions Monday.

The resolution provides an additional 10 days of paid sick leave in addition to their regular leave time for all district employees should they miss work because of COVID-19 exposure.

“This is a generous and much-needed action provided by our trustees,” Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said in a statement released by the district. “When Congress decided not to extend the program, our board saw the need of our teachers and staff.”

Trujillo said the resolution is particularly needed for new staff members who may not have accrued enough leave to cover the necessary quarantine period.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a 14-day quarantine period for anyone exposed to the virus, but notes it may be ended after 10 days if no symptoms arise.

The vote to extend the leave for district employees was unanimous, with two board members not present to vote due to power outages from this week’s winter storm.

The extension of that paid sick leave is retroactive to Monday, Jan. 4, which was the first day for district employees to return to work from the holiday break, according to the district’s statement. That provision will end on the last day of the 2020-21 school year unless it is extended further or revoked sooner.

The calendar adopted by the district in August 2020 sets the final day of school as Friday, May 28.

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