“Did you know that Virginia employers are not actually required to provide paid sick leave to all their employees??

Let’s be honest— It’s a scary time to be a teacher. We’re teaching in ways we’ve never done before, and the home-work life balance is as bad as it’s ever been. Most teachers are working from home, and doing double the work we normally would be, and working while sick since we’re already at home. With Covid cases rising, we’re also worried about our own health and safety once we return to school buildings full time. With our own health on the forefront of conversations, our paid sick leave is also a topic of concern.

Covid procedures and social distancing guidelines for corporate businesses looks much different than what it looks like in school buildings. Maintaining social distancing is difficult when a roster has 31 students on it, but a socially distant classroom only fits 15 desks.

Since most school districts don’t offer paid sick leave, but a system of “days off per semester,” it leaves teachers wondering “What will happen if I get Covid and have to take 14 days or more? Will I get paid for the whole time? If I’m severely ill and out of days, how will I still teach?” Honestly— those questions are left unanswered for MANY teachers in the state of Virginia.

Offering paid sick leave is crucial for maintaining a healthy workforce. Due to the “days off a semester” {I currently get 5 per semester} policies that school districts have, once you’re out of days— you’re out. That leaves teachers forced to either work while sick, or be out of work, but unpaid. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of doing this too.

I believe that offering earned paid sick leave per pay period across the state of Virginia would lead to healthier teachers— mentally and physically, which in turn would lead to better educational practices across the state.”