Just before school started for Revere Public Schools (RPS), Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly and the School Committee went over some provisions that will be necessary to ensure a safe and successful 2021/2022 school year amid a continuing pandemic.
With students back learning in-person, and the RPS district posting some of the highest vaccination rates in the state among students, Kelly said after a lengthy session with teachers, school administrators and staff who were able to agree to a couple of provisions that the School Committee wanted to put in place for the start of the school year.
“The first one is about social distancing,” said Kelly. “We had planned to encourage social distancing whenever possible and so we memorialize that in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with teachers saying that whenever we can, we’ll keep at least three feet of distance. This will be especially true when we are inside and eating.”
The second provision concerned the use of family medical days and sick time.
“We said we would front load sick leave that teachers typically accrue (over the course of each month),” said Kelly. “For our newer teachers who may not have a big concern about what might happen to them if they were to contract COVID and had to be isolated or if they become sick, we said that we would front load their 15 days (of sick time) so they would have access to that sick leave should they need it.”
Kelly said RPS has also added a provision for staff in unique situations with family members who live in the household who become sick or have a close relative and might need some additional family medical leave. In these uncertain times, some RPS staff may be called upon to care for a loved one who becomes ill with the virus.
“Under contract teachers have family illness days they are allowed to take,” said Kelly. “If somebody is in a unique situation with that and has already exhausted all of their available personal time and family illness time they can appeal to me for additional time that would come out of their accrued sick bank.”
Of the meeting to iron out some of the provisions going into the new school year, School Committee member Carol Tye said the meeting was ‘very productive’.
“I thought people on both sides were trying very hard to assure that we have a (successful) school year,” said Tye.