Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Coronavirus Update 7–21–2021: Employers, now is the time to ready your back-to-school plans

Children nationwide are getting ready to go back to the school for the 2021 – 22 school year, the third school year students and their parents will be living and dealing with, Covid-19.

Here's what we know about what this school year will look like.

  • Updated CDC guidance prioritizes in-person learning, and I know of no schools that are starting their year with any mandatory remote learning.
  • Large percentages of people returning to school will not be fully vaccinated.
    • No one under the age of 12 will be vaccinated, as they are not yet approved to receive the vaccine, and likely will not be until early 2022.
    • Many too many children ages 12 - 17 remain unvaccinated.
  • The CDC also recommends that masks only be worn by those who are unvaccinated.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, recommends that everyone older than two should wear a mask in school this fall regardless of vaccination status. Most schools, I fear, will not follow this advice.
When you add all of this up, and with the more contagious Delta variant now the dominant Covid variant in all 50 states, the stage is set for Covid-19 outbreaks to occur in schools all over the country this school year. Kids will get sick and schools will temporarily close. And all of this coincides with more and more businesses curtailing remote work and bringing employees back to work in person. This all means that some of your employees will need time off from work to coincide with their children's illnesses or school closures. 

Yet, if your business has opted-in to the extended FFCRA paid Covid leave benefits, your tax credit that is paying for such leave expires at the end of September. Thus, very early in the school year, employers will be on their own on how they are paying for their employees' Covid-related leaves of absence.

If you're going to be on your own (or are already on your own), now is the time to plan for how you will handle your employees' Covid-related absences for the coming school year. Your employees will need time off; now is the time to prepare for it.

* Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash