MURRAY – The Calloway County Board of Education held a special-called assembly on Jan. 5. Among different issues, the board met to debate making modifications to the Calloway County School District’s ’21-’22 Back to School Plan, the doc that outlines the mitigation methods employed by the district to scale back the unfold of COVID-19.
CCSD Director of Professional Development and Public Relations Ryan Marchetti defined the aim of the dialogue, “Our board is looking at options to keep kids that were exposed at school by adjusting the quarantine rules. … With our current contact tracing and quarantine rules, one positive case could lead to 20 other students being forced to quarantine.”
CCSD Superintendent Settle provided a glimpse into how the district’s present quarantine procedures impression scholar schooling. “Imagine a classroom with 30 kids. In a normal school year, you’re going to have 95% of those 30 kids (there) every day. The nightmare for teachers (now) is that, on any given day, 30% of the class (could potentially be) out, and that 30% is always (shifting). (Teachers) are trying to move on in a structured format, following a natural progression established as part of our curriculum guides … and you’ve got (gaps in learning) because these kids are missing five, 10 days at a clip.”
Settle suggested that college closures may additionally consequence from employees shortages. “I may have to close schools because I don’t have bus drivers to run routes or teachers to teach classes or cooks to cook for kids.”
Settle additionally gave the board a selected instance of how present procedures impacted one classroom lately. “A few weeks back, we had a situation at East Elementary where we had 31 fourth graders quarantined because they were exposed. One of the 31 tested positive.”
Board Chair Jay Housden stated, “We are sending too many kids home that are not testing (positive for COVID), but if we do away with (the quarantine policy), with the numbers elevating daily, we ought to go back to masks.”
Board member Scott Lowe echoed comparable sentiments, “I wouldn’t be opposed to putting kids back in masks, but I think the quarantines are hurting the education of our students and hurting the faculty.”
Board member Mitchell Ryan clarified that the dialogue is about quarantine procedures, not isolation procedures that are for college kids who’ve examined constructive for COVID. “I think everybody agrees that the sick ought to go home and that’s not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about quarantine.”
Ryan voiced one of his considerations about ending contact tracing, “I want to know if my kid was (around) somebody who was positive. I would at least like to know that. And if you’re not contact tracing, then I’m not going to know that.
“All I do know is I’m not on board with sending 30 kids home when one kid tests positive. There are really only two things we can use – masks or tests – to offset that.”
Settle stated that district directors beforehand seemed into Test to Stay packages which permit uncovered college students to proceed going to highschool so long as they’ve a adverse COVID take a look at earlier than they enter the constructing.
“We tabled that (idea) months back on the premise that it was problematic because of our campus structure, and (in order to test) kids before school, we’d have to look at an off-site location or have kids come in late to be tested,” Settle suggested.
Ryan added, “And tests are hard to come by. I don’t know if testing is the answer. Then you’re left with a discussion about masks.”
Of the East Elementary incident when 31 college students from one class have been quarantined, Settle stated, “If we had been masks on at that point, you probably would’ve been talking about maybe five or six kids.”
He added the caveat, “We were dealing with Delta then. Now, we’re dealing with Omicron … (which) is much faster and more rampant.”
There was settlement among the many board that it might be more practical to outline ranges for metrics that will set off changes in mitigation methods, comparable to altering to/from necessary masking or cancelling college, as a substitute of figuring out particular numbers. Board members additionally agreed that college directors needs to be those to resolve if and when extra steps needs to be taken.
Before the dialogue concluded, Settle requested the board to stay cognizant of the truth that NTI days are restricted this 12 months to 10. Settle suggested that between inclement climate and potential COVID-related college closures, “There could be a situation where … we don’t have any more NTI days and that drags our calendar into June.”
The board requested extra info earlier than the subsequent board assembly on Test to Stay, together with any contractual obligations, in addition to suggestions from different college methods within the area utilizing it, in addition to any packages accessible to produce masks for teenagers.
The board additionally addressed three objects of enterprise on the assembly, together with approving a contract with H2 Holdco, Inc. for athletic coaching and a authorized providers contract with Ok. Bryan Ernstberger.
The board additionally heard the primary studying of an modification to CCSD Board Policy 09.36. CCSD Director of Pupil Personnel Josh McKeel said that the modification would enable the district to move college students in district autos referred to as the “White Fleet.” The modification contains coaching necessities for fleet drivers that are much like these at the moment in place for bus drivers. The second studying will happen on the subsequent assembly.
CCBE will convene for his or her regularly-scheduled assembly on Thursday, Jan. 13.