Greenville Co. Schools vote to give bonus to employees, extend COVID leave

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GREENVILLE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville County school leaders held a special-called meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss ways to help employees who’ve been impacted by the pandemic.

“There was no playbook for COVID-19,” Greenville County Schools’ Director of Media Relations Tim Waller said.

Those with the school district said no one saw the virus coming or the impact it would have on their schools and those who work in them.

Because of that, Greenville County Schools wanted to do something for those who’ve been affected. So, on Tuesday, they voted on a one-time bonus for all school district employees.

“It’s easy for all of the world’s issues right now to get people down – primarily teachers,” Waller said. “Dr. Royster sees this as a way to boost morale and to let everyone know they’re valued and treasured.”

According to the district, all salaried and hourly workers will get $1,000. Adjunct workers, such as community members who coach teams, after-school care workers and paid tutors, will receive $100 bonuses.

“This is a recognition for teachers going above and beyond, having to come up with innovative ways and methods of teaching young people during a global pandemic,” Waller said.

Waller told 7 News that their teachers have done a great job of being flexible and adapting to a new normal, and have been working harder and longer hours.

“Teachers have gone out of their way to be creative, to come up with lessons that no one ever would have imagined in a traditional classroom setting,” he said.

“It’s frustrating. It’s infuriating sometimes to do what people have been professionally trained to do during COVID-19, but keep the faith,” Waller said. “Hopefully, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

The board also voted on a coronavirus leave extension that would allow up to 80 hours of special leave for employees who must quarantine because of the virus.

“COVID originally was not covered as a sick day – especially when we’re talking about long-term illness or a condition that keeps people out of school,” Waller said.

The district said the money for leave will come from the CARES Act and money for bonuses will come from unused funding.

“If you think about schools shutting down in March of 2020, we saved on electricity, we saved on other transportation expenses,” Waller said. “There were a lot of things that were budgeted that we didn’t spend the money on because schools were shut down.”

Waller told 7 News this is their way of acknowledging the extra duties employees have taken on since the pandemic began.

“Your efforts are not going unnoticed,” he said. “They’re being noticed, not only by students and parents, but by everybody here at the administration of Greenville County Schools. Well done. Keep up the good work, and, hopefully, you can put this bonus to good use.”

District officials said the bonuses will be distributed in February.

According to the school district, the new COVID leave extension will apply to anyone quarantining within January 1 to August of this year.

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