School Board Votes to Pivot to Four-Day School Week for In-Person Learners

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   The Wayne County School Board met in regular session on Thursday, February 11th, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. in the Central Office Board Room. All board members were present, including Chairman Andy Yarbrough, Charity Horton, Greg Eaton, Debbie Brown, Dwight Bumphus, Sherman Martin, and Camryn Eaton. Superintendent Marlon Davis was in attendance as well.

   Chairman Yarbrough called the meeting to order, and invited all those in attendance to participate in a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance.

   The first items on the agenda included adoption of the consent items, minutes of the January meeting, and the January ledger of accounts. Greg Eaton made a motion to approve. The motion was seconded by Dwight Bumphus, and was passed unanimously.

   The first item under old business was the second reading of policies that required updating due to Tennessee Code Annotated changes. Superintendent Davis outlined the policy changes approved at the last meeting, including 3.400-Student Transportation, 6.309-Zero Tolerance Offenses, 6.3041-Title IX and Sexual Harassment, and 6.305-Student Concerns. Charity Horton made a motion to approve the second reading of the recommended revisions, and Debbie Brown seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

   Next under old business, Superintendent Davis provided information to the board about the number of employees who have exceeded the ten paid days provided by FFCRA for COVID-related absences. The superintendent recommended paying employees five additional days for COVID-related absences through March 31, 2021, and retroactively paying those employees who have already exceeded the ten days. Sherman Martin made a motion to approve Superintendent Davis’ recommendations, and Charity Horton seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

   The first item on the agenda under new business was Policy Review: Section 6 – Student – 6.312-6.319. Superintendent Davis stated that he had no recommended changes to the policy.

   Next on the agenda was the school calendar for the 2021-2022 school year. Superintendent Davis presented the calendar proposed by the calendar committee, and Dwight Bumphus made a motion to approve. The motion was seconded by Sherman Martin and carried unanimously.

   Superintendent Davis next gave a brief update on upcoming education-related activity in the State Legislature.

   Non-faculty coaches were next under new business. Superintendent Davis presented two non-faculty coaches for approval: Shane Scott, Collinwood Middle School; and Greg Martin, Waynesboro Middle School. Charity Horton made a motion to approve both pending satisfactory background checks. Camryn Eaton seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

   Bids for technology items, including laptop and desktop computers, were next. Superintendent Davis presented bids, stating that auditors had confirmed that it would be acceptable to buy like products from another vendor if lower in price than the accepted bid. Charity Horton made a motion to approve the bids presented, and Camryn Eaton seconded. The bids were unanimously approved on roll call vote.

   Budget amendments were next on the agenda, with Superintendent Davis presenting various line-item budget amendments for approval. Sherman Martin made a motion to approve the amendments, and Dwight Bumphus seconded the motion. The budget amendments were unanimously approved.

   Next under new business was a budget committee ESSER 2.0 allocation. Superintendent Davis presented the budget developed by the budget committee for ESSER 2.0, also known as COVID relief funds. Charity Horton asked about the item titled “College Access,” and questioned if it was necessary. The superintendent provided data pertaining to the current status of completion of Financial Aid forms by this year’s high school seniors, and compared that data to surrounding districts. Following a brief discussion, Sherman Martin made a motion to approve the budget as presented. Camryn Eaton seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously on roll call vote.

   Superintendent Davis next presented a COVID-19 update. He stated that as of the time of the meeting, there were two active student cases and one active staff case. He also stated that there were 15 students and three staff members quarantined.

   Academic data was next on the agenda. Ragan Stooksberry addressed the board, presenting data related to the learning loss students have experienced since March of last year. She discussed this year’s benchmark data and compared it to 2019-2020. She also detailed the Response to Intervention program and how students were identified as needing additional help.

   The student attendance schedule was the final item of new business on the agenda. Superintendent Davis outlined the current AABB schedule with Wednesdays designated for distance learning students. The superintendent then proposed a schedule where in-person learning students would attend four days per week with one day each week designated for distance learners. Chairman Yarbrough asked if anyone in the audience had any comments or questions, and one attendee asked if Superintendent Davis’ proposal would be for all grades. Davis confirmed that the proposed schedule would be for all grades, PreK through 12. Following a lengthy discussion, Charity Horton made a motion to pivot to a 4-day schedule for in-person learners (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays), with Wednesdays designated for distance learners. In addition, if future spikes in COVID cases are observed in a school, only that school would be closed. Sherman Martin seconded the motion, and the new schedule was unanimously approved on roll call vote.

   The only item under “other” on the agenda was a discussion of school proms. Superintendent Davis stated that in April of 2013, the board voted to require that all proms be held on-campus. Davis said that due to the current COVID circumstances, he would recommend allowing schools to hold proms off-campus but still in Wayne County. Charity Horton made a motion to approve the superintendent’s recommendation. Debbie Brown seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

   With no further business to come before the commission, Sherman Martin made a motion to adjourn. Dwight Bumphus seconded the motion, and the meeting was adjourned.