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McKenzie School Board considering changing COVID-19 quarantine plan

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McKenzie Special School District Board members are considering modifying the school district’s COVID-19 Management Plan, especially where it involves mask wearing and quarantining.

Board member Greg Barker brought up the matter at the Feb. 2 board meeting and handed out a possible modified plan to other board members.

Board member George Cassidy had said at the last board meeting that parents were concerned about the quarantine rules, but no change was made at the time.

One of the proposed changes says if a student diagnosed with COVID-19 and a student deemed a close contact were both wearing masks appropriately at the time of the potential exposure in the school setting, the parent/guardian of the close contact student  would be given an option for their student to remain in the school setting. School administrators would continue to notify the parent/guardian of the potential exposure and give the parent/guardian of the close contact the choice to allow their student to remain in school.

There were other modifications and requirements in the recommendation.

It was recommended that staff attorney Brad Craig be contacted about the recommendations with the matter being brought up at the March 2 meeting.

In other business, board members:

* Heard from Watkins who gave the director’s report. Board members were recognized in  various ways in appreciation for school board week.

 The resignation  of teacher Leann Oliver was accepted and Nick Chappell hired in her place.

Several substitute teachers for 2020-2021 school year were employed. They included Cameron Kee (K-6 only), Austin Mason, Whitley Smith (K-6 only) and Emily Bolin (K-4 only). Watkins listed items for which a projected allocation of $1,113,420.28 can be spent. Some of the items included HVACs for the elementary and middle schools.He said repairs on theater damage at the front of the high school will start next week.

• Approved the school calendar for 2021-2022 school year. School will start Aug. 2 and conclude on May 19,

• Passed two budget amendments. Some $19,026.60 in ESSER grant funds were relocated  from equipment and contracted services to extended contract activities and IDEA Preschool Grant funds for health insurance and staff development costs. In the other amendment, some $6,100 was moved from grants to extended contract activities.

• Agreed to accept free serving trays for the cafeteria from Weakley County Schools..

• Passed on first reading updates on 16 amendments to the school district’s policy manual. They will have to be passed on a second reading.

• Decided to conduct a board member workshop on Feb. 27 at 8 a.m. at the request of board member Karen Fowler. She said board members needed to conduct a walk through of the three buildings and afterwards discuss about needed updates.

• Discussed the painting of the exterior and inside painting of the McKenzie Elementary School.

• Discussed the possible repair of the middle school gym locker rooms.

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