Lenoir City Board of Education will look to extend COVID-19 leave for staff next month.

During a Sept. 23 BOE workshop, Director of Schools Jeanne Barker asked members to extend sick leave past the Sept. 30 federal deadline.

The move comes after the board in August agreed to not sunset the temporary policy for staff.

“The federal leave is no longer going to be active after Sept. 30, so in order for us to do anything we would have to take a board motion now on this,” Barker said during the workshop. “There are some budgetary impacts to some of this as well, but what I am asking is extending the remaining balances of the current COVID-19 sick leave allocation, which was 10 days, so if anybody has a balance of those, extending that for employees who can provide documentation that they personally are COVID positive with a diagnosis.

"We would modify the current policy, which expires Sept. 30, by extending the date to the end of the school year, May 20, 2022, and in doing so it would apply only to COVID-positive employees,” she added.

The average sick time for teachers has been about five days, she said.

“We want to make sure that our teachers have this option in the event that they do have a COVID-positive diagnosis,” Barker said.

A vote is expected Oct. 7.

“Really trying to take care of the people, trying to do what’s best for our staff,” Matthew Coleman, BOE chairman, said. “With the delta variant where it’s at today, hopefully that doesn’t become a bigger issue, but more important than anything just taking care of the staff and giving them that flexibility. I’d hate for people having to dip back into their vacation days. ... Hopefully things are trending in the right direction finally and I hope they continue trending that way, but I think just looking out for those teachers and giving them that flexibility to be able to use that time.”

During the meeting before the workshop, Lenoir City Board of Education:

• Awarded tenure to Lenoir City Intermediate/Middle School teachers Hilary Hudson and Sarah Burgess Jackson.

• Awarded tenure to Lenoir City High School teachers Madeline Casity, Jordan Cross, Stephanie Guth, Katelyn Hanley, Shannon Hudak, Sarah Torbett and Rebekah Summers.

• Rejected bids for a LCIMS paving project and awarded a bid to Patty Construction for completion of the LCHS paving project.

• Appointed board member Mitch Ledbetter to the 2022-23 school calendar committee.

• Approved policy revisions for special programs, graduation requirements, separation practices for non-tenured teachers, separation practices for tenured teachers and Title IX & sexual harassment.

• Adopted a policy for a virtual education program.

• Passed a change order of $14,088.92 for the LCHS cafeteria expansion. The money will be used to replace two 23-year-old condenser units.