ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Due to coronavirus health concerns involving themselves or family members, 30 St. Johns County teachers have decided to take a one-year unpaid leave of absence, according to the school district.
Teachers have the option to come back after the end of the 2020-2021 school year, but it’s not guaranteed they will get their same job back.
The St. Johns County School Board on Tuesday morning voted to approve agreements with the county’s teachers union to cover pandemic leave, early retirement, simultaneous instruction, preplanning and transfers for teachers.
Under the agreement, teachers 62 years old or older, or teachers living with someone 62 years or older, or with certain medical conditions can take a leave of absence for up to one school year if they have COVID-19 health concerns.
Employees can also take up to 12 weeks of leave, two weeks of paid sick leave followed by 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave, if the employee is caring for his or her child whose school or place of childcare is closed or childcare provider is unavailable.
The district said there were 17 county teachers who also made the switch from brick-and-mortar classrooms to virtual schools due to coronavirus health concerns and 17 teachers who chose to take advantage of an early retirement incentive offered by the district.
There were 19 support staff members in the district that also took the early retirement incentive and 17 support staff that are currently on a leave of absence, the district said.
The agreement also states that teachers won’t be evaluated or punished based on classroom recordings of virtual instruction.
The school district is the largest employer in the county with 5,298 full and part-time employees, which includes more than 2,900 instructional staff and more than 1,700 support staff.