Employees at Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools might have to quarantine anywhere from 14 to 24 days if they were exposed to the coronavirus.
That’s according to WJCC Schools spokeswoman Eileen Cox.
But is this quarantine period mandatory for all employees?
In response, Cox sent WYDaily an email with the following infographic from VDH.
When asked how the school division determined the number of days to quarantine — up to 24 days — Cox said the VDH defines the isolation period as 10 days and per the health department’s guidelines, the quarantine period is for 14 days after the isolation period.
“Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions: At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and at least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved,” according to the Isolation / Quarantine / Movement Restrictions / Public Health Monitoring section of the VDH’s website. “*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts.”
When asked if the 14 days or more quarantine period would be considered paid sick leave, Cox wrote in an email “if the employees must quarantine, they qualify for 10 days of leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, FFCRA.”
“This is paid leave given in addition to the 1 day of paid sick leave per contract month provided to each employee, front loaded at the beginning of a contract,” she wrote. “Employees also have the opportunity to join a sick leave bank and may be eligible for sick leave donations from co-workers depending on the circumstances and in accordance with SB Policies GCBDA and GCDBD.”
She added the school division will work with employees on an “individual basis to address their needs.”
WJCC Schools does not plan to use CARES Act funding for the time period employees would on leave/quarantine, Cox said.
So why is WJCC Schools not using money from the CARES Act if employees needed to quarantine for up to 24 days?
“We’ve just identified other uses for our CARES Act funding,” Cox said, adding that includes personal protective equipment, protective barriers, additional cleaning measures and new air filters. “It’s just that that’s where our money is being spent.”
As of Tuesday, the school division has not had a situation regarding paid leave, Cox said.
While the division is not testing its employees for the coronavirus, Cox said most of the insurance plans cover testing and “the insurance offered by the school division does cover testing.”
“As far as [paid] leave, we have not had a situation like this come up yet but we will be working with employees on a case by case basis to ensure that they are aware of all the leave options that are available to them,” she added.
As for York County School Division, spokeswoman Katherine Goff implied the division is following a similar protocol as WJCC.
“YCSD follows CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines regarding quarantine, isolation and return to work timeframes for confirmed COVID-19 cases,” she wrote in an email. “Additionally, the division is following the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in regards to family and medical leave for staff that qualify under the Act.”
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