Upshur BOE looks at birth, adoption leave

The Inter-Mountain photos by Amanda Hayes The Upshur County Board of Education honored Bryce Nguyen, a student at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School, with an Upshur Star award for excelling at the county and regional spelling bee and math field days. Nguyen placed fourth at regional spelling bee and third in the regional math field day. Left to right, BAES teacher Sherri Hoover,board member Kristi Wilkerson, BAES principal Susanne Britton, superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus, Bryce’s father Vu Nguyen, board president Dr. Tammy Samples, Bryce Nguyen, board vice president Katie Loudin, board member Dr. Greenbrier Almond and student representative Evan Trent.

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Schools will have the second reading of a revised policy that makes it more inclusive for birth and adoption leave for both mothers and fathers at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The previous policy 5006 included a paternity leave policy that said an employee could be granted paternity leave of one to five days of consecutive or intermittent leave to be with his spouse or significant other and/or children during or following the birth and/or adoption.

The proposed revised policy replaces paternity leave with birth or adoption leave as follows: An employee may be granted birth/adoption leave of up to six weeks of consecutive or intermittent leave based upon available employee leave balances. Leave should be used within six months from the time of birth and/or placement.

Assistant superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said, “We developed a committee to review that policy based on a recommendation from the board. We had good service, faculty and administration representation on the committee.”

The policy presented also recommended extending emergency medical leave to be granted for the birth of a grandchild for up to five days versus the previous two.

Cadence Vincent was given an Upshur Star Award for her recent accomplishments in swimming. Vincent qualified for the YMCA National Short Course Championships this year and will also be eligible next year. Left to right, are board member Dr. Greenbrier Almond, assistant superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison, superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus, board president Dr. Tammy Samples, B-UHS principal and Cadence’s father Eddie Vincent, Cadence, Cadence’s mother Tracey Vincent, board vice president Katie Loudin, student representative Evan Trent, board member Kristi Wilkerson and board member Alan Suder.

Harrison told the board of education Tuesday, April 9 that she was also recommending the section add adoption of a grandchild.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus thanked board member Kristi Wilkerson for serving on the committee to make the policy more inclusive.

Wilkerson said, “We looked at this in part because of paternity leave. An employee can request of the board under special circumstances to take an extended leave so fathers can do that and we have granted that recently. The other part is in checking with local physicians, pediatricians can provide a doctor’s note for a father. It is considered a medical reason for the father to take that time.

“Previously, it seemed paternity leave was based on the medical card at birth rather than bonding. In looking through other policies, we have discovered that a number of places have changed it. Federal and state regulations were already allowing for it.”

The policy is now available for review at upshurschools.com or in the board of education office.


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