It was a quick meeting for the Shelby Eastern School Board Wednesday evening.
The “record-breaking” meeting only lasted 23 minutes, in which the board went over its 2020-21 school year COVID-19 numbers, heard brief reports, and approved five new items.
Superintendent Todd Hitchcock said throughout the entire school year, only 67 of the district’s 1,132 students tested positive for COVID-19.
“That’s 5.9 percent of our student body,” he said. “Of those students, 19 were elementary students and 48 were secondary students.”
SES had a total of 830 student quarantines. This counts the number of quarantines, not the number of students (some students quarantined more than once).
SES only had 26 staff members test positive, which is approximately 13 percent.
“In both cases, with students and staff, we know the majority of those weren’t transmitted at school,” Hitchcock said. “There’s no way to know exactly which ones were and which ones weren’t, but based on some contact tracing and the work the health department does, we did trace back a lot of those to find out where they were from. We know the majority of those weren’t transmitted at school.”
Hitchcock said the district is creating a re-entry plan for the next school year. This plan aims to be “least restrictive.”
“In other words, looking at each of the limitations we had in place last year, trying to remove as many of those as we can, but also at the same time try to put in place realistic thresholds so that if we do see a rise in cases or illness, we can put those old plans back in place to keep students and staff safe,” Hitchcock said.
The board will hold a hearing for this plan in July, and formal action will be taken then.
Under new business, the board approved an increase in adult lunch prices. Hitchcock said this action needed to be taken because what they were charging before wasn’t enough to match how much it costs to prepare. Student meals will not be affected.
“It’s still less than McDonald’s,” Hitchcock said.
“I think that’s what you get a Happy Meal for, but I haven’t bought one for a while,” Board Member Emily Beal-Nelis said.
To which Hitchcock replied: “You haven’t bought any Happy Meals?! What’s wrong with you! There’s toys in there!”
The board approved the updated version of Neola Vol. 33, which sets policy standards based on federal and state recommendations.
The board approved declaring a surplus on obsolete technology. This will allow them to sell equipment that is no longer useable. Most of this equipment is more than five years old and not capable of running most recent software the district uses.
Among the list of discarded are 140 HP laptops, all older than five years, which the district is considering selling to teachers who are interested. This will all be handled internally.
“In essence, some of them would be good for checking email, but as far as installing software, some of them are eight or nine years old, so they’re pretty aged,” Hitchcock said.
The board approved the elementary textbook fees. This fee increased $5 from last year in order to make money available for certain STEM lab projects.
“We’re going to be doing some training at the end of the summer with our staff ... for a three day intensive project-based learning training,” Hitchcock said. “We want to make sure we have funds for those teachers who decide to do those funds in their classrooms.”
Lastly, the board approved for the Waldron High School Cross Country Team to take an overnight field trip at McCormick’s Creek.
Hitchcock said this state park is his favorite and he gave favorable recommendation.
The next board meeting will be July 14.