The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which required certain employers to provide their employees with ten days of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19, has expired as of Dec. 31, 2020.

Among those most affected by this change are our Itawamba County School District teachers, faculty and staff.

At the Jan. 4 Itawamba County School Board meeting, Superintendent Trae Wiygul addressed the situation and showed support for an extension of the extra sick days through March (the longest it can be extended) by board members.

Wiygul told the board, “I would like to recommend that we extend that. It’s just not fair to our teachers.”

The board opted to extend the sick days through March 2021 providing that the extra funds were approved through the state auditor.

According to FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:

1) is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

2) has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;

3) is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;

4) is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);

5) is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or

6) is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

The extra sick leave hours were in addition to any time off the employee may already received through employment and are only to be used in the event that the employee is exposed to COVID-19.

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