County schools see many COVID cases, but symptoms ‘mild’

Published 3:04 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

The Lincoln County School District plans to keep taking it day by day when it comes to COVID-19 rules at its schools, Superintendent David Martin said to the LCSD School Board Tuesday during its monthly meeting.

“The symptoms we are seeing [within our population] are minor, but [the virus] is running rampant,” he said. “We will continue to monitor, but this is a fluid situation. We’ll take it day by day.”

LCSD schools have not gone back to mandatory masks, though other districts in the area have. “Masks are still optional for our students and staff,” Martin said. “A positive case must remain home for five days and may not return until they have been 24 hours without fever (without fever reducing meds).

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“As with the rest of the state, nation and world we have seen an increase in our COVID numbers in the past two weeks. Schools are not immune to the trend of rising COVID cases. Overall, our cases have run below the state and national average.

“We evaluate each situation to determine the best course of action and adjust accordingly. At this time, we have 7-12 on an A/B schedule at West Lincoln and Loyd Star. Bogue Chitto and Enterprise are currently following their traditional schedule.

Also during the meeting, board members elected Diane Gill, who served as vice president last year, as the new board president. Perry Brown is the new vice president and Billy Vaughn is now the secretary. Former president Tim Cunningham had made the motions for nomination and all board members, which also included Justin Laird, unanimously voted yeah.

Superintendent Martin told board members that various construction projects are on task, though they have found the rising cost of lumber to be a major problem. “I looked back on prices [for a particular building they constructed] to see the price paid for the lumber, and prices have tripled. The cost was above $5,000, compared to a little over $1,000 for lumber [for that last project],” he said of the new bus barn’s construction.

Board members voted on the following recommendations:

  • approved an apprenticeship standards agreement, which requested permission to develop an apprenticeship program for two to three students to start, who might work for local employers to gain experience
  • approved to advertise for bids, through reverse auction bid process, for district outdoor wireless access points
  • approved Baton Rouge field trip by ENT physics students to visit the Museum of Art and Science
  • approved for two trips – one to Wiggins and the other to Oxford – for the Mississippi by WL Robotics team, pending results of lower-level competitions
  • approved multiple Central Office claims docket
  • approved a 2022 mileage reimbursement rate for the new year as .58 cents, as well as revisions to several documents that need updating with the new rate listed
  • approved school bus turnarounds for 2021-2022
  • approved two donations from the WL Booster Club for cross country mileage for $5,576.52 and letterman jackets at a cost of $2,098.50
  • approved renovation of a recently purchased building that will eventually house Central Office and the bus barn located in the Linbrook Business Park, as well as hiring an engineer, architect, contractors and other related workers
  • approved beginning the bid process for the Lone Star waterflow campus project to repair and remedial work from the first contractor’s work
  • approved Martin as the designated applicant agenda for FEMA/MEMA regarding Hurricane Ida for Enterprise and Bogue Chitto school repairs
  • approved financials provided by Sam Stewart

The board went into executive session after the regular session. “The only major news following our executive session was we have added five additional sick days to our full-time employees due to the continuing COVID pandemic,” Martin said. “Employees who are part time will get sick days proportional to their standard number of days.”

The next regularly scheduled LCSD board meeting will be Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Loyd Star Attendance Center.