Fully vaccinated Anchorage School District employees who test positive for COVID-19 and cannot work from home will be paid for time off — a “quarantine period” of up to 10 days — without having to dip into their normal paid time off, according to a recent school district memo.
Employees who are not fully vaccinated are not eligible for the leave, Lisa Miller, a spokesperson with the school district, said in an email.
The memo — sent on Aug. 23 by Anchorage School District chief human resources officer Matthew Teaford to district supervisors, principals and timekeepers — said employees will have to show a positive COVID-19 test and proof of vaccination before the leave can be approved.
Vaccinations are not required for the school district’s employees, but have been encouraged by Superintendent Deena Bishop.
A spokesperson for the school district said she was not able to say what the current vaccination rate is among the school district’s employees, but said “many district employees are vaccinated, which contributes to a safe school start and minimizes classroom/school disruptions, and protects staff and student health.”
Despite opposition from some in the community, including Mayor Dave Bronson, the Anchorage School District is requiring masks for all people inside ASD buildings. It is also regularly cleaning and sanitizing classrooms, buses and other facilities as part of its broader COVID-19 mitigation plan for the school year.
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Bishop cited high COVID-19 case numbers in Anchorage and the delta variant as reasons for the plan.
Corey Aist, president of the Anchorage Education Association, a union representing the district’s teachers, in a phone call on Friday said it was important for all district employees to have fair access to the new leave for employees testing positive for COVID-19.
”It is in everyone’s best interest, including the district, that no employee uses up all their sick leave and puts them in jeopardy of going into unpaid status,” Aist said.