In Case You Missed It …
Superintendent Monifa McKnight sent the following email regarding the reinstatement of a COVID-19 leave benefit to MCPS employees on Monday, Sept. 12.
Dear MCPS Colleagues,
I write to let you know about the work being done at my direction to reinstate a COVID-19 leave benefit. Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received on Aug. 11, I immediately asked staff, as part of our return to school planning, to explore what could be done to reinstate a COVID-19 leave benefit. Collaborative discussions continue at this time with our three valued employee associations to make this happen. The Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), Service Employees International Union, Local 500 (SEIU) and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP) have been advocating on your behalf for this benefit, which had expired at the end of June 2022 and before our new fiscal year. While details are still being discussed, we expect to announce the return of an employee’s COVID-19 leave benefit in the coming days.
The announcement will provide essential details such as how much leave is available for either yourself or to take care of a COVID-19-positive family member; you will also learn how to apply for the leave, reporting codes, the approval process and more. This is complex work as it must be done in alignment with current health guidance from our federal, state and local health partners. It will also be important for us to take into consideration the current Board of Education resolutions regarding COVID-19 operational procedures. I am very mindful of the operational needs of the school district so we can ensure the academic program for our students and their success.
I have repeatedly said that one of my goals and foundational to our success as educators is to provide for our students’ physical and mental health and equally to each other as MCPS employees. The work of teaching, leading and serving our students is only best done when we are well physically and emotionally. Restoring the COVID-19 leave benefit is one important way we can honor this responsibility to our staff and students. Our theme as we have returned to school is “All together now, all for our students, staff and community;” the work of education takes all of us together. A clear and consistent message that is a commitment of respect to you.
The MCPS leadership team and I have been visiting schools, offices, bus depots and various programs as we have returned to school over the past two weeks. It is heartwarming to see and feel the energy of our new school year, the apparent dedication that is fully given by each of you. I must say: Congratulations! You’re the best.
So, stay tuned. Our union partners and we will complete this work and announce the outcome soon. Rest assured all of us do this work with you in mind. Have a great third week of school!
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
Superintendent of Schools