The 2020-21 school district budget was approved and the district property tax rate was set during the July 16 meeting of the South Carroll Board of Education.
The board was also advised regarding a general outline of protocols for re-opening Clarksburg School on Aug. 4 amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as protocols on how to deal with sick students.
The new budget includes total revenues of $2,798,855 and total expenditures of $2,865,262, which puts district finances over $66,000 in the red for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
At the recommendation of Director of Schools Lex Suite, who presiding over his first board meeting as district director, the board voted to set the school district property tax rate at $1.3539 per $100 of assessed property value to line up with the new certified rate set by the state.
The old rate was $1.5234, but as Suite pointed out, the new rate should bring in the same amount of revenue.
Discussion was also held regarding school opening, and Suite presented the board with a general set of protocols regarding issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Suite said he has sent letters out to parents advising them of the protocols.
“Right now, we’re prepared to open traditionally,” said Suite, who added that students will not be required to wear masks as things currently stand, but masks will be available for students who want them.
He also said that school staff will be checking the temperatures of all students as they enter the building, and if any student shows a temperature of over 100.4 or is manifesting symptoms of illness, that student will be monitored by the school nurse, parents will be called to come pick the student up, and the parents will be urged to contact the Health Department or their medical provider.
Other protocols regarding health precautions, social distancing, and hygiene include:
•Instructing students to self-monitor (when age appropriate) and report to teachers when they are not feeling well.
•Parents are requested to check their child’s temperature before leaving home or boarding a school bus.
•Social distancing will be encouraged inside the school facility, and students will be asked to respect the personal space of others. Teachers will provide specific instructions for social distancing in classrooms and hallways.
•Visitors will be limited to front door access only unless attending a predetermined meeting. Visitors may also be asked to wait in a designated area or in their vehicle.
•Policies regarding school meals may be modified at any time during the school year as needed.
•Frequent hand washing will be encouraged, and hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms and common areas.
•Students will be encouraged to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
•Counseling services will continue to be available to all students.
As far as students who have shown symptoms of illness and have been taken out of school temporarily, they should only return to school after it has been at least 10 days since the onset of symptoms and they have been fever-free for 48 hours, unless otherwise cleared by a medical provider with documentation.
Parents should not send their children to school if they are exhibiting fever, shortness or breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If a student lives with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, that student must follow Health Department or medical provider guidelines before returning to school.
Teachers or other school employees testing positive for coronavirus or showing symptoms of illness must be quarantined for 14 days before returning to work.
Suite pointed out that if they start having multiple cases of illness, they might have to shut the school down and provide instruction for students online.
“I think that’s something we can do,” said Suite, who pointed out that the state mandates 6.5 hours of instruction daily. “There will be some challenges.”
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In other business:
•The board honored outgoing Director of Schools Dr. Tony Tucker for his nine years of service as district director. Board chairman Corey Bartholomew presented Tucker with a plaque and other gifts from the board.
•The resignation of 4th grade teacher Kayla Tharp was acknowledged.
•Teacher and student handbooks were approved for the 2020-21 school year.
•The 2020-21 Local Agriculture Products Compliance Plan was approved.
•The board voted to continue to participate in Tennessee Schools Systems for Equity.
•The board was advised that the TSBA Fall District Meeting will be held Sept. 29 in Paris.