COVID-19 provisions extended

Blount County Board of Education

Blount County Schools superintendent Rodney Green opened his report during Monday’s board meeting sharing a thank you note from Ashley Carr, one of the system’s nurses. Carr thanked the board for their support throughout the first half of the school year as well as the $500 supplement given to each full-time employee. Green told the board that Carr’s note was “one of many from grateful employees” that he had received.

In attendance for the meeting were Philip Cleveland, Chris Latta, and Jackie Sivley. Green followed up on a few items from the Dec. 18 special called meeting. He reiterated the need to begin the second semester remotely as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Teachers and students are remote this week with plans for traditional learning to resume next week; however, Green said they would continue to monitor and assess the situation to make decisions in the best interest of students and faculty.

Green also reminded the board of the new safety measures in place for the upcoming junior high basketball tournament. “It will be safe, separated, with 100 fans per school allowed,” he said.

Lastly, Green requested approval to pay employees for 10 days after a confirmed positive COVID-19 illness. He also proposed that the board pay employees for 10 days if they are directed to quarantine by their immediate supervisor due to close contact exposure at school or work location.

The request further states, “If an employee is caring for a child or individual in their home with COVID-19 or close contact exposure and has to quarantine beyond the child or individual’s 10-day isolation period, the additional 10 days of quarantine will be paid by the Board of Education. Employees taking COVID-19 leave may be required to provide appropriate documentation as directed by their immediate supervisor.”

The provisions in Green’s recommendation extend provisions the board provided during the first half of the school year. Following Green’s request, the board approved the measure, which is now in effect through May 28.

In other matters, the board approved Green’s recommendations. It approved:

General Matters

• budget amendment #1 for FY2021.

• to amend contract with Mitchie Neel to add 10 additional days.

Agreements/Contracts

• Hayden Primary’s contract with Debra McPherson to provide Tier III Reading Intervention from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31.

• Susan Moore’s agreement with Huddle Tickets, LLC.

Leaves of absence

• extend Michael Gunter’s military leave through Feb. 28.

• Wiley Murphree, Southeastern, Jan. 19 through Feb. 19.

Employment (certified)

• Esperanza Meullion, Spanish/EL teacher, Susan Moore High School, beginning Jan. 11.