The Crossett School District’s Board of Education voted Monday to adopt policies related to COVID-19, including additional pay for employees who have been vaccinated against the virus.

The board approved a resolution for $200 in extra pay for employees who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The resolution was adopted at the behest of Superintendent Gary Williams.

“This is a way to say, ‘Thank you’ and to encourage (our employees) to get a COVID vaccine,” Williams said.

“We know vaccines prevent serious illness and (viral) spread and prevent quarantines, which will allow us to have school with less interruption.”

The funding for the measure, which was approved on a motion from board Secretary Eddie Goodson and seconded by President Keith Medders, comes from an initiative from the governor’s office, Williams said.

The second measure the board adopted addresses the issue of employee sick days in light of the COVID pandemic. Williams said Monday that the district did not have anything in its plan for COVID to address employee quarantines except sick days.

If an employee has to be quarantined because of COVID exposure, they would have to use their entire allotment of sick days all at once during the quarantine, he said.

The policy the board tentatively approved Monday — which still has to be vetted by some stakeholders before it can be fully adopted — allows an unvaccinated employee 10 days for quarantine in addition to their sick days if they meet certain criteria. The policy will be retroactive to July 1 but will only last until Oct. 13.

Williams said the district won’t tell employees what medical decisions to make for themselves, but this policy lets them know that their sick days will be used after the first time they face quarantine.

The criteria that will have to be met to qualify for the additional quarantine days are:

4If the employee tests positive for COVID-19;

4If they have symptoms concurrent with COVID-19 and are receiving treatment while they wait for test results;

4If they have a probable close contact with COVID-19 exposure while discharging their work duties;

4If they are out because they have to provide care for a dependent who has COVID-19.

Under the current guidance the school district has from the state, the only way that students and teachers can guarantee that they will not face quarantine for a so-called close contact is to be vaccinated. Williams said the school district will be hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Crossett High School on Thursday, Aug. 12 that will be open to the public but will be largely focused in getting school district employees vaccinated.

In other news:

+The board accepted a bid from Davis Playground Equipment to install new playground equipment at Crossett Elementary School. The new equipment will be there to better serve the kindergarten students, who will be at the CES main building instead of at Crossett Learning Center this year, Williams said.

+The board approved Williams’ request to attend the National Superintendent’s Conference in Nashville, Tenn., this year.

+The board approved the licensed hiring of Norma Watts as an elementary teacher at CES; the Act 1240 hiring of Amber Martin as a fifth grade literacy teacher at CMS and Tamra Austin as a family and consumer science teacher at CMS; the classified hiring of Victoria Bolin and Madison Brown as special education paraprofessionals at CES; the classified transfer of Chandra Schleisier as a part-time CLC office secretary; and the licensed resignation of Kevia Gill as family and consumer science teacher at CMS.

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