GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – The Greenville County School Board on Tuesday voted to extend COVID-19 leave to help staff members impacted by quarantine orders and positive diagnoses.

Tuesday's vote extends the district's COVID leave through August 2021.

The COVID-19 leave extension will be funded through the CARES Act and will provide up to 80 hours of “special leave for employees who are required to isolate or quarantine due to a COVID exposure or infection,” the news release states.  “It will be retroactive to January 1 and helps ensure employees’ leave accounts are not negatively impacted by absences caused by the pandemic’s mitigation measures. “

The board also unanimously voted for a one-time bonus for full time school district employees.

The cost of the $9.4 million bonus will be funded via the school district’s 2020 budget, which had excesses from the period when schools were shut down.

Exempt employees, such as teachers and administrators, who “are not eligible for overtime and have not received any type of compensation for additional duties or the extra hours they have worked in response to the pandemic” will get a one-time $1,000 bonus.

Part-time employees, substitutes, and adjunct employees who have worked this year will receive a partial bonus of $100.

GCS said these one-time bonuses will not alter the district’s salary scale or result in any recurring costs to the budget.

The bonuses will be distributed on February 15, 2021.

“With the exception of healthcare, I believe the COVID pandemic has had a greater impact on education than maybe any other segment of society,” said Superintendent W. Burke Royster in the release.  “Our employees have been asked to innovate on a dime, learn, implement and monitor extensive protocols and procedures, selflessly respond to the basic needs of the community, create previously unknown attendance options, and serve as counselors and comforters, while fulfilling their duties using multiple in-person and remote platforms.  All these have been accomplished while trusting that the protocols and mitigation factors we have in place are sufficient to protect them, their families, and their students.”

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