The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented unprecedented challenges for public and private educational institutions across the country. As schools evaluate how to move forward, Husch Blackwell and our entire Education team is continually monitoring and responding to federal and state guidance on this issue. We have various resources ready to assist you immediately. We discuss those resources below and assure you that we will keep them updated as new guidance is issued as the situation evolves.
In response to the extraordinary public health threat posed by COVID-19, President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020.
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“the Act”). The Act responds to the coronavirus pandemic by requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, providing free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and providing grants to states for processing and paying claims. Under the Act, public employers and small and midsize companies are required to provide two weeks (80 hours) paid sick leave to employees impacted by the coronavirus; however, small businesses with less than 50 employees and healthcare providers are exempt under the Act. In addition, companies with 500 or more employees are not covered under the Act. For an employee to qualify for paid sick leave, they must be subject to a quarantine or isolation order, been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, or be experiencing coronavirus symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Employees may also qualify for partially paid sick leave if they take sick leave to care for another individual or child.
U.S. Department of Education Guidance
The U.S. Department of Education continues to update www.ed.gov/coronavirus with information for students, parents, educators and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To date, the Department has issued the following guidance documents regarding school operations in this midst of this crisis:
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education also recommends reviewing the resources and guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about COVID-19, available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. The CDC’s resources include Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs.