With a total 83 students quarantined at North Lamar because of four high school students with Covid-19, Superintendent Kelli Stewart updated trustees on the district’s response to the novel coronavirus at a Monday night meeting.
“We are following the recommendations of the health department and have developed a Covid-19 response team,” Stewart said as she shared a flow chart for each campus with staff in place to deal with parent notifications, contact tracing and return dates for all students and staff affected.
In addition to high school nurse Justine Wideman as Covid-19 facilitator, each campus has a four-member team consisting of the campus principal along with a person in charge of contact tracing, another in charge of parent notifications and still another tracking quarantines along with earliest return dates possible for each person in quarantine.
As of Monday, the district had 67 students at the high school, 11 at Stone Middle School, two at Bailey Intermediate and three at Parker Elementary under quarantine because of “close contact” with a confirmed case. There are 10 staff members in the district under quarantine as well, Stewart said.
Those numbers will increase as the district on Wednesday reported a fifth confirmed case at the high school.
Stewart also reported the district has spent $34,437 for plexiglass and another $1,714 for dividers made in house in preparation for students to return to in person instruction. To assist students who chose a virtual learning option, the district spent $72,532 for 63 iPads, 152 Chromebooks and 60 hot spots.
“TEA paid 25% of the cost and will reimburse us for the remainder if the city and county will share in providing a combined $18,133 out of their Covid funds,” Stewart said, explaining she has talked with both the city manager and county judge and expects to hear back by Oct. 1.
“We can hopefully take that money and purchase more technology,” Stewart said.
At the Monday meeting, trustees reviewed upcoming plans for the district’s gifted and talented program and received updates regarding safety, maintenance, athletics and enrollment.
With a total enrollment of 2,357 students, 497 students (21%) are participating in online classes while 1,860 students are attending school, Assistant Superintendent Leslie Watson reported.
In other action, trustees approved a “Student to Industry Connection” course at the high school, a local compensation policy for vacations and holidays and a resolution for Agrilife agents to become adjunct staff members to allow students to attend livestock shows and other agriculture-related activities without being counted absent. Trustees also approved the inclusion of professional staff on 10.5- and 11-month contracts to be included in a decision to decrease required attendance days from 187 to 182 as approved in 2017 for those with 9-month contracts.
“It’s just the fair thing to do,” Watson said.