The start of the 2020-21 school year this fall was the focus of the Lawrence County Board of Education's recent monthly meeting, which took place last Friday via zoom.

As everyone knows, the last quarter of the 2019-20 school year was cut short due to Covid-19.

Fortunately, graduation is taking place this week as planned, allowing some closure  for the class of 2020 seniors. So with that in mind, the board of education took a look at what the upcoming school year will be like.

The hope right now is that things will be back to some form of normalcy when the 2020-21 school year starts. However, rest assured that things will probably never be the same "normal" we knew prior to the pandemic. In preparation of this, the school board is making the necessary adjustments.

In his statements to the board, Superintendent Jon Bret Smith outlined the measures the school system plans to take for this upcoming school year.

Those measures include making sure that classrooms, weight rooms and other facilities stay cleaned and sanitized. The board is also looking into buying a large bulk of hand sanitizer for their schools and have already found someone to purchase from.

"We want to make sure our students and faculty are safe," Smith said. "There's been a lot of talk about the fall and what it will be like. Hopefully things will be back to normal as much as possible, but we have to be prepared."

The board is also making contingency in case school is closed for long periods of time again like it was this spring.

Those contingencies include making sure that students have a way to participate in online learning, should such a need arise.

"We're working on putting wi-fi on our buses. This would allow us to park them in certain areas and allow students to use them as a hot spot," said Smith. "We also want to be able for each kid to have their own device. We want to be able to insure the students have what they need if it's needed."

Smith said the school system will be receiving funding for expenses from the cares funding, also stating that the general budget of the school system is strong and that financially they're in a good place.

The rest of the meeting's business was as followed:

New employment:

Justin Henley, Hatton High School Physical Education teacher

Karen Norwood, Central Office, extended school year, part-time, as needed basis, not to exceed 19 hours per week during summer 2020

Susan Jennette, Resource teacher, part-time, temporary, as-needed basis, not to exceed 19 hours per week during summer 2020

Rebecca Posey, Special Education Teacher, extended school year, part-time, as-needed, not to exceed 19 hours per week during summer 2020

Morgan Terry, Preschool Speech Teacher, extended school year, part-time, as-needed basis, not to exceed 19 hours per week during summer 2020.

External transfers:

Alisa Pinkard, Countywide Special Education Teacher – Homebased at Moulton Middle to Countywide Special Education Teacher – Homebased at LCDC, effective 2020-2021 school year.

Jennifer Ward, Countywide Special Education Teacher – Homebased at East Lawrence High School to Countywide Special Education Teacher – Homebased at Hatton High High School, effective 2020-2021 school year.

Mollie Killen, Elementary Teacher at Moulton Middle to Elementary Teacher at Hatton Elementary, effective 2020-2021 school year

Katina Crowden, Elementary Teacher at Speake School to Elementary Teacher at Moulton Elementary, effective 2020-2021 school year.

Approved contracts:

Contract with Oakville and Solutions Pest Control for initial service fee for museum of $900/year and service fee for 3 additional buildings of $230/year for 2020-2021, funding: Oakville

Contract with Academy Pest Control and East Lawrence Elementary for termite treatment; not to exceed $4,880.00 for initial treatment and $600.00 first year. Funding-Local

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