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Union, Duval Public Schools Agree On Plan To Give Employees New COVID-19 Health Benefit

The Duval County Public Schools Board is expected to approve a plan to give teachers and other district employees a new COVID-19 related health benefit.
The Duval County Public Schools Board is expected to approve a plan to give teachers and other district employees a new COVID-19 related health benefit.

An agreement between the Duval Teachers United (DTU) union, Duval County Public Schools, and five other employee representative groups would give teachers and other district employees a new COVID-19 related health benefit. It’s also expected to improve the district’s responsiveness to potential COVID-19 cases in schools, the groups and the district said in a joint release.

Under the agreement initially proposed by DTU, employees will not be responsible for out-of-pocket costs for covered medical services associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

The agreement also authorizes the purchase and use of COVID-19 rapid tests. With approval of the agreement, district administration will develop procedures for select employee COVID-19 testing with a 24-hour turnaround.

Rapid testing will enable school health personnel to more quickly identify if an employee has COVID-19 and then take appropriate measures if needed to prevent the spread of the virus and minimize the impact on school operations, the release said.

Related:  Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

“We are very pleased that the district has come to agreement with us and the other employee representative groups on this issue,” said Terrie Brady, president of DTU. “We are all operating in new and unpredictable conditions, and it will be a great relief to educators knowing that the personal financial impacts of COVID-19 are covered”

Five other employee representative groups will be able to sign on to the agreement, which will go before the Duval County Public School Board for final approval at its September meeting.

Warren A. Jones, chairman of the Duval County Public School Board, said  he looks forward to advocating for this agreement with the full Board.

“Our school district and our educators have always provided extraordinary service to students and families in our community,” said Jones. “We are moving forward now within the significant constraints and impact of a worldwide pandemic. To work in partnership with DTU and our other employee groups to help our employees manage the potential financial implications is very rewarding.”

Superintendent Diana Greene said that she was thankful to DTU for bringing this to the bargaining table and honored to bring it to the school board.

“It is the right thing to do for our classroom educators and other school and district employees as we enter the school environment with COVID still in the picture.” Greene said.

Procedures for COVID-19 rapid testing will be developed following an expected board approval.

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