Pinellas County teachers may be allowed to take unpaid leave of absence due to COVID-19

Teachers in Pinellas County told the school district it wasn't doing enough to prepare schools for safe reopening this fall.

Now the district says it will do more to make and keep schools as sanitary as possible.

In a memo to staff, Pinellas County schools said it would provide "adequate" cleaning supplies and make classroom sanitization the responsibility of janitorial staff.

However, teachers are not guaranteed the option to work from home.

The district says the option to work from home depends on how many families choose for their students to return to in-person classes. 

School board member Rene Flowers told FOX 13 the district will work with teachers who are vulnerable, or have vulnerable family members, to let them take a leave of absence.  

“Some of those who just absolutely, positively feel like they can’t come back, they will have the ability to ask for a leave of absence for one year with them having their jobs when they return,” Flowers said.  

However, taking a leave of absence means they will not get a paycheck.

Teachers say the county is putting them at unnecessary risk for catching COVID-19.

The school year starts for students August 24 in Pinellas County.