Ask & Answer | State Board chair issues guidance on personnel and school facilities during COVID-19

A reader said: “I am concerned about teacher and teacher assistant pay during these times.” Another reader asked: “During the school closure, if teachers do not report to the building, must we take annual leave or sick leave?”

On March 16, Eric Davis, chair of the State Board of Education, issued this memo on personnel and school facilities to superintendents and charter school leaders. It provides some clarification on Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 117 Prohibiting Mass Gatherings and Directing the Statewide Closure of K-12 Public Schools to Limit the Spread of COVID-19.

At 5:10 p.m. on March 16, Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson then sent this email:

“DPI has been receiving a lot of calls from teachers regarding pay.

You should have recently received guidance from the State Board on personnel matters. Below are clear bullet points on that guidance. Please share this information with teachers and plan the days and weeks ahead accordingly.

  • The Governor’s Executive Order directs that public school facilities are to be closed as instructional settings between March 16 and March 30.  The Governor’s office has directed that these weekdays be designated as teacher workdays.
  • All salaried employees will continue to be paid on their normal pay schedule.
  • Local school boards can designate these days as mandatory or optional workdays but should attempt to allow teachers to work from home.
    • We may very well be transitioning to remote learning for weeks after this two-week period. This is an opportunity for teachers to start preparing for such.
  • The most guidance we have gotten so far for hourly employees is that local school boards will make the decisions regarding the work assignments and schedules for them (recognizing that if they do not work, they do not get paid).
    • Hourly employees CAN be assigned alternative duties to maintain their regular work schedule.

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Ask & Answer Coronavirus The Editor's Notes