Warren School Board votes to mandate masks as COVID remains a threat

Six of the seven members of the Warren School Board were present Monday evening, August 9 for the monthly meeting of the board. President Jerry Daniels presided. The board had a full agenda and conducted a list of routine business, including approving past minutes, financial reports and hearing from the various school administrators.

The last agenda item may have been the most important action of the meeting. By a vote of 5-1, the Board voted to mandate masks for all staff and students when indoors during school and on buses. This requirement will go into effect as school begins. The matter will be reviewed by the Board each time they meet. The mask mandate is allowed due to a court ordered stay placed on the state law that prohibited mandates. A State court stayed the law pending further action or appeal. Board members indicated it was the wisest thing to do to protect students and teachers, and to try and limit the spread of COVID. It is an effort to keep school in session and learning going without interruption.

In other business, the board heard from Darrel Odom of Odom Architecture, the firm that has designed the new elementary school and the new arena. Also, representatives of Clark Construction were on hand to discuss the bids received to date. The bids are considerably over budget and the Board will be making decisions soon whether to rebid or consider other solutions. Superintendent Cornish reported he plans to have the Board meet with their financial advisor soon to consider all options for meeting the budget of the new facilities. Extreme cost of building materials has created the problem.

The following personnel actions were approved:

  • Approved retirement of Karen Ferguson , 6th grade social studies teacher, 32 years of service
  • Approved resignation of Sandra Harris as food service worker
  • Approved hiring of Jasmine Bolen as 6th grade social studies teacher
  • Approved hiring of Kabrina Tenner as food service worker at Eastside
  • Approved hiring of Vernom Colvin as bus driver
  • Approved Gerald Barnett as full time summer help
  • Approved the rehiring of George Alexander as bus driver, Ashleigh Bunch as bus driver, Henry Cox as bus driver, Kevin Dunn as bus driver, Idonia Godwin as bus driver,Betty Haynes as bus driver, Clarence Lucky as bus driver, Joe Mason as bus driver and Wayne White as bus driver
  • Approved Becky Guessas substitute bus driver

In other actions the board took the following votes:

  • Approved contract with South AR Rehabilitation to serve students and athletes
  • Approved adult lunch prices at $2.75 for breakfast and $3.85 for lunch. Both are 10cent increases
  • Approved food vendors Sysco, Tankersley and Robertson’s Produce
  • Approved child and adult care program
  • Approved student transfer from Woodlawn to Warren
  • Approved resolution for ACT 1240 waivers
  • Approved resolution for additional pay for being fully vaccinated. Pay will be $200.00 to be covered by state funding
  • Approved development of covid leave policy for 10 days. to be retroactive to July, 2021

Mr Cornish reported that Jason Wallace will join the school staff as a School Resource Officer, working under the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. He will be paid for by a grant. The Superintendent stated more information on COVID protocols will be forthcoming and will be made public.

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