The Crossett School District Board voted Monday to extend the its COVID leave-of-absence policy through March 31.

Superintendent Gary Williams said that when the school board originally adopted the policy in August, it was set to run through Jan. 1. He asked the board to extend it until March to stay in line with timelines provided by federal sources. 

Williams said another stimulus package will come through soon, and those funds can help offset the cost associated with the leave policy, which adds an additional 20 days of leave to staff members who need to take more than their original leave because of COVID-19 quarantine or COVID-19 in general. 

Williams also said that several staff members have the ability to work from home and unless they are too sick to work from home or their job description won’t allow for it, then they do so instead of taking a leave of absence.

Williams said the board could revisit the issue in March if it appeared another extension would be needed.

“Hopefully the vaccines will help slow this down and we can start moving back towards our normal policies and procedures,” Williams said.

In other news:

-The board voted to extend William’s superintendent contract for three more years.

-The board training report stated that all board members except Robert Cornelius had met the required training hours. 

Board member Katie Jordan had received the most hours, which was a total of 16. 

Board members Keith Medders, Keith Carter and Eddie Goodson each received six hours. Cornelius had zero training hours.

-During the financial report, Williams said the school’s legal balance was showing much higher this month compared to the same period last year. 

Williams said some of that is because expenses are lower, but also because a large amount of people paid their taxes later, causing the money to come in at a later time.

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