In August 2020, the CARES Act Steering Committee approved $15 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Leave Fund for school employees. The fund provided two weeks of paid leave for K-12 public school employees who were unable to work remotely and were required to isolate or quarantine, per ADH directives.
As of December 18, 2020, the COVID-19 Emergency Leave funds have been fully expended; however, districts may choose to continue to provide flexible leave options, including paid administrative leave, for employees who are unable to work from home and meet the following criteria:
· Test positive for COVID-19;
· Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis or awaiting test results;
· Are a probable close contact or close contact to a positive case; or
· Need to care for a dependent who is subject to quarantine.
Districts that choose to continue an emergency leave option, in accordance with district policy, using local funds or additional federal COVID Relief ("ESSER II") funds pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, will need to perform salary redistributions to move salary costs from the usual SOF code employees’ salaries are paid from (i.e. operating, other federal fund, etc.) to the ESSER fund (SOF 6780; program code 191 3-6 Continuity of Operations and Employment). Payroll redistribution may be executed only one time per person, per pay period.
DESE cannot transfer ESSER funds from the dedicated federal fund to other accounts at the district-level or state-level. Transparency requires that all expenses and revenues are recorded directly in the federal fund. Similarly, other costs related to absences (i.e. substitutes for teachers on leave or working remotely) would need to be recorded directly to SOF 6780 or moved via journal entry. Districts cannot transfer ESSER funds to other accounts either by fund transfer or by writing a check from ESSER funds and depositing into another fund.