January 11, 2021
This update is not the official minutes of the board meeting. The official minutes and policies are located at “Board” which can be accessed on Orange County Schools’ website at link to agenda.
Recognitions: Kudos to the staff who were integral to the in-person instruction for preschool and EC students in October:
· Ellen Perry-Kaji, PK Facilitator
· Drew Collins, EC Program Specialist
· Mary Ann Baldwin, EC Program Specialist
· Maryellen Gollnick, EC Assistant Director
· Rhonda Stephens, EC Lead Administrative Assistant
Orange County Health Department: Two representatives from the Orange County Health Department, Quintana Stewart, Director, and Margaret Campbell shared an update with the Board. Stewart stated the current percent positive rate (January 11, 2021) is at 7% which is not where officials want it to be. The goal is not to exceed 5%. Campbell detailed the communication efforts between our school nurses and the Health Department. These efforts are in place to contact trace each case and determine if there is any possibility of secondary transmission or a potential cluster. Other items addressed included updates regarding COVID-19 vaccine and antigen testing.
ABC Science Collaborative: Dr. Danny Benjamin, MD, Ph.D, Distinguished Professor Pediatrics Duke University School of Medicine, provided an update to the Board that included CDC indicators and thresholds for the risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in schools, COVID-19 vaccine, cases in North Carolina, the enforcement of mitigation policies (masking, physical distancing, and hand hygiene), and the importance of district/school leadership in following mitigation strategies.
Board Action: During yesterday’s Board of Education meeting Ms. Sarah Smylie made the following motion, “The motion is…. delaying the return of grades two through twelve until the next nine weeks and bringing back kindergarten and first grade as well as the groups that are already operating contingent upon air purifiers, meals outside of classrooms, and a regular testing program.” This motion was seconded by Ms. Brenda Stephens and approved with a vote of 4 to 3. Board members in favor in addition to Stephens and Smylie were Ms. Jennifer Moore and Ms. Hillary MacKenzie. Dissenting votes were from Ms. Bonnie Hauser, Ms. Carrie Doyle, and Mr. Will Atherton.
Here is a link to the recording of the meeting. The motion was made at 3:05:55.