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NEA provides guidance and resources for returning to classrooms safely, and with an emphasis on racial and social justice.
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Educator Rights to Paid Sick Leave

Need to take leave related to COVID-19—either because you are sick or need to care for a family member? Check out these resources.
Published: 07/17/2020 Last Updated: 11/22/2021

Educators face several different scenarios in which they may need to take leave related to COVID-19—whether they test positive themselves, are caretaking for others, or need to quarantine due to an exposure at work or elsewhere.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that schools “[a]ctively encourage employees and students who are sick or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 to stay home” and “[d]evelop policies that encourage sick employees and students to stay at home without fear of reprisal.” 

For schools and campuses to remain open while maintaining a safe environment for the entire community, it is vital that educators be able to take the time off from work as needed. 

Earlier in the pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) guaranteed educators some COVID-19-related leave, but with the expiration of the FFCRA requirements at the end of 2020, many educators have struggled to piece together leave they may need for illness, caregiving, or quarantine requirements.

The following provides basic information about collective resources and individual rights that may help educators secure needed leave.

More Resources


Collective Bargaining: Educator Voice in the COVID-19 Environment

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Amplifying Educator Expertise Through Collective Bargaining and/or Collaboration to Address COVID-19 Issues

As states and communities consider how to resume in-person instruction, the voices and expertise of educators have never been more important.

The ESSER Funds: Bargaining and Advocacy Guidance for Safe and Equitable Schools

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American Rescue Plan Funding Checklist

Use our ARP checklist as a quick way to identify and share your funding priorities.
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Educator Rights to Accommodations

Learn how COVID-19 impacts your right to accommodations under the ADA.

Always check with your state/local association for assistance in enforcing your rights and about additional rights you may have under state laws, collective bargaining agreements or memoranda of understanding with the employer, or policies. Laws and potential legal remedies vary from state to state, and depend on individual facts and circumstances. For questions about individual legal claims, you should always consult with your local or state legal counsel or another attorney licensed to practice law in your state. 

For additional bargaining or advocacy questions or resources including contract language, contact NEA’s Department of Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy at [email protected] 

NEA provides guidance and resources for returning to classrooms safely, and with an emphasis on racial and social justice.

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American Rescue Plan Checklist

The American Rescue Plan can fund our schools’ most critical needs. Help us rank what the funding priorities should be in your state and district to share with lawmakers.
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Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.