Teachers, Others Can Be Paid for COVID-related Leave; State of Emergency Extended

Teachers worried about their paychecks being docked for COVID-related absences can breathe a sigh of relief for now. Gov. Reeves has extended Mississippi’s State of Emergency for an additional 30 days, shifting its expiration to mid-September. Local school boards and other governmental agencies may pay employees who miss work for reasons related to the pandemic while the State of Emergency is in place. 

Schools have been rocked by COVID outbreaks as teachers and students return to classrooms amid the escalating pandemic, with the Delta variant infecting students, in addition to adults, at an alarming pace. Hospitals are at a breaking point. There are no vacant ICU beds in Mississippi at this writing, and hospitals are short-staffed, forcing state leaders to call on the federal government for assistance in setting up and staffing temporary field hospitals. Educators feared losing portions of their already meager salaries if they ran out of sick days due to pandemic-induced absences. Those fears are abated for the time being with the extension of the State of Emergency.

Our teachers truly are heroes, risking their own health and that of their families to ensure that our children meet their potential and have the skills they need to be successful in life. The very least our state can do is to protect their salaries as they face the challenge of yet another year marred by COVID-19. Thank a teacher today. And by all means make the choices that will keep them and our children safe. Together, we’ve got this!

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