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Raleigh February 9, 2022.
Governor Roy Cooper today announced a policy extension allowing state employees to use volunteer days to help combat staffing shortages in K-12 school districts across the state due to COVID-19. The extension, through April 15, provides an additional 24 hours of Community Service Leave for state employees with supervisor approval to work in North Carolina schools as substitute teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff and others. necessary functions, in addition to the standard 24 hours of voluntary leave provided annually.
The policy also continues to allow state employees to keep any compensation provided by the school district through April 15.
“We want students to continue learning safely in the classroom and encourage state employees to serve as substitutes and volunteers and to be able to keep any compensation they receive,” Governor Cooper said. “This extension gives school districts more time to bring in volunteers and gives our generous state employees more opportunities to lend their talents to their local schools.”
Some North Carolina districts, including the Wake County Public School System, have taken steps to make it easier for state employees to volunteer in schools by simplifying the onboarding process and waiving the usual fees for training or for cover the cost of background checks.
“We appreciate the leadership and flexibility of school districts in simplifying the onboarding process for state employees and welcoming their spirit of volunteerism,” said Barbara Gibson, State Director of Human Resources. “We are confident that this policy extension will cause more state employees to volunteer in their community or to fill a need in a nearby district.”
Kristi Day, deputy director of academic standards at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, is on the list to volunteer as a substitute teacher at Willow Springs Elementary School in southern Wake County, where her son is in first grade. On Thursday, she will be a substitute teacher at Fox Road Elementary School in north Wake County, which needs help staffing its classrooms.
“Our leadership has been excellent in encouraging us to help where possible. We support teachers, which in turn supports students and families,” said Day, who served as a classroom teacher in Lincoln and Wilkes counties before joining the state Department of Public Instruction eight years ago. “This is a small thing I can do to help schools that are challenged with so many different things.”
Many school districts continue to have an increased need for substitute teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and other areas of need due to absences from employees who need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
“We are extremely grateful for the state’s employee volunteers who are willing to make a difference in schools that are struggling due to COVID-related staffing shortages,” said Jacqueline Williams, principal at Fox Road Elementary. “Governor Cooper’s decision to make additional volunteer hours available to state employees who want to serve our schools helps in a direct and significant way.”
Today’s decision extends the original January 12 announcement , which temporarily modified the State Human Resources Commission’s Community Service Leave Policy through February 15. The policy normally states that full-time state employees are eligible for 24 hours of paid voluntary leave each calendar year.
Under the updated policy, state employees are eligible to use an additional 24 hours of community service leave (48 hours total) for the time they spend being, or training to be, a substitute teacher, substitute teacher assistant, or other staff substitute in a school or school. district. State employees are also eligible to use the usual 24 hours of community service leave for other volunteer activities, regardless of compensation. Such leave may be used by state employees only with the approval of the supervisor and only when it does not interfere with or delay the operations of state government.
The policy will be in effect until April 15, 2022.
Read the existing community service leave policy and the temporary exception allowing expanded use of the policy in schools .
N OTE: School volunteer Kristi Day will be available for limited on-site interviews at 10 a.m. Thursday, February 10, at Fox Road Elementary School, 7101 Fox Road, Raleigh 27616. Reporters interested in attending should contact Sara Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please park in a spot marked for visitors, check in at the school office, and observe the school’s policy regarding student privacy. Fox Road Director Jacqueline Williams will be available as her schedule allows.
Courtesy: North Carolina Office of State Human Resources