August 4, 2021
The provisions below are being implemented due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the Jacksonville area. The provisions are intended to slow the spread of the virus during a limited period and provide employees additional time to get vaccinated if they are able and elect to do so.
Originally, the Superintendent wanted to initiate a temporary mask mandate for all staff, students and visitors to DCPS until the scope of the Duval County School COVID spread could be evaluated. The original plan was for students, employees and all visitors to District buildings to wear a mask for the first 30 days of school to slow the spread and give the opportunity for those who would like to get vaccinated to do so. Then a change had to be made after the Governor signed an Executive Order. The Governor blocked all efforts by Florida district Superintendents and School Boards to mandate masks for students. He threatened to withhold funding from those districts that mandated the wearing of masks by students. The Superintendent, therefore, rescinded the temporary mask mandate for students but it is still strongly recommended. The wearing of masks, however, for DCPS Paraprofessionals, Teachers and UOPD staff members as well as visitors was maintained and remains mandatory.
All Paraprofessional, Teacher and UOPD staff members are required to wear a face mask/covering when entering and exiting all schools and district buildings, and at all times while in such buildings, when not alone in a personal workspace or office. Due to the severity of the current local increase in infections, failure to wear a mask may lead to progressive discipline. If an employee is unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons, the employee may apply for an ADAAA accommodation. The mask mandate will tentatively expire on September 3, 2021. However, the Superintendent may extend the mandate until the end of the 2021-2022 school year based on the health and safety of employees and students.
Leave for COVID:
During the 2020-2021 school year, through the CARES Act, employees were allowed up to 80 hours of COVID leave in the event they contracted the virus. This CARES Act provision expired in June and was not extended by Congress for employees. For the 2021-2022 school year, therefore, employees who contract COVID or are quarantined will need to use their own accrued sick leave. DTU is in active discussions with the district to try to come up with some leave days if an employee contracts COVID or is quarantined. Please watch your DCPS email for updates on this issue.
The following is still subject to School Board approval. DCSB DTU Unit employees will be granted up to two days of COVID-19 Testing administrative Leave, when directed to be tested for COVID-19 by district medical personnel or the Department of Health personnel conducting contact tracing on behalf of DCSB. The 2 days will be used for the following: testing administration (Day 1) and confirmation of test results (Day 2).
Employees will be directed by the School Health Services team to the nearest District testing location for PCR testing. If an employee does not use the District testing site, a PCR test is still required. This may increase the time for results. Additional administrative leave will not be granted.
School administrators and employees have been provided with the current Covid protocols to be used during the opening of schools. The situation with Covid is very fluid and ever changing. The DCSB and DTU will continue to monitor the number of cases in Duval County and decisions will be made based on recommendations from the Department of Health, CDC and medical professionals. Employees should watch their DCPS emails for updates as the COVID situation continues to unfold.
DTU encourages everyone to be safe and steadfast as we move forward with the opening of schools. DTU will keep you updated on any changes via your DCPS email address.