In an effort to help Mayfield Independent School teachers better prepare for educating both in-person and virtual students, the district’s board of education voted to begin a four-day in-person school week after fall break with virtual instruction for all district students on Fridays.
The district-wide virtual Fridays will occur until Christmas break on Oct. 16, 23 and 30, Nov. 13 and 20, and Dec. 4, 11 and 18. The lone exception will be a virtual Monday on Nov. 2, which is the day before Election Day when schools would be closed.
Superintendent Joe Henderson told the board Monday that district teachers are providing instruction to both students in their classrooms and online simultaneously or are separately recording lessons for virtual learners instead of using an online platform like Edgenuity for online teaching.
“The negative part of that is it’s very time consuming to teach those virtual kids in that manner,” he said.
Henderson added that not only will the days away from on-site instruction provide more time for teachers to prepare lessons for in-person and virtual students, it will also give custodial staff additional time to deep clean facilities and provide all students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with virtual learning in the event of snow days or possible future closures due to COVID-19.
“Where we are right now, it’s very difficult what we’re asking (teachers) to do, but it’s the most effective way,” he said. “Hopefully between now and Christmas, we can figure out some things what an alternative might be.”
Henderson also spoke on examining metrics to determine if schools should be shut down due to a coronavirus outbreak in the community. The district had no parameters to work with when school started last month and had to develop some on their own related to community factors and the virus’ spread. Eventual recommendations from the governor’s administration and Kentucky Department of Education, according to Henderson, focused more on an overall community outbreak than an individual school outbreak.
“Obviously, every community is different and outbreaks look different,” he said, adding that if a virus outbreak at a medical facility occurs, they should work with local health officials to determine if closing schools would be warranted.
“We need to put some thought into it and not have a knee jerk reaction to the color of the county,” he added.
The board also kept the school district’s tax rate the same for the fifth consecutive year. Assessed real property value will again be 72.1 cents per $100, 68.9 cents on motor vehicles, and 3% on utility tax.
Henderson said that the financial work paved by the board members and administrative staff has helped place the district on its current solid footing.
“We’re expecting cuts after the second semester from the Department of Education, but we feel we’re sound enough financially that we don’t want to put a burden raising taxes on our community and families at this time,” he said. “That’s all due to the fact we have been very conscientious about spending the past few years.”
Board members also recognized Miranda Reed, the district’s director of special education and preschool, for securing a $11,000 grant from the WHAS Crusade for Children. The grant will be focused on students with disabilities, such as hearing and vision impairment, sensory impairments, and communication disorders. Reed also organized a golf tournament that raised more than $9,000 for Crusade for Children prior to the grant’s awarding.
Henderson also reported the distribution of hot spots to student households that did not have internet or Wi-Fi access had been going well.
The board also approved:
• 2020-21 district working budget which includes a general fund budget of $19,576,501.68;
• A BG-4 contract on Mayfield Career and Tech Center construction work;
• 2020-21 partnership agreement with Murray Head Start;
• An agreement with Mike Owsley of English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP in Bowling Green for added legal services as needed;
• The second reading of a policy amendment to add the Memorial Day holiday to employees who work 220 or more days;
• The only reading for an emergency policy amendment for accepting credit and/or debit electronic payments from students or parents and guardians for fees, passes, etc.;
• Amending a part-time guidance position job description to 220 days;
• Using student workers for after school meal services and paying a $10 rate to sub and student cafeteria workers;
• Fiscal Year 2021 school security funds request;
• Mayfield High School renovation change orders of door fillers, a reimbursement and circuit panel for $2,462.80, and removing brown panels from the gym area for $32,992.
• Treasurer’s report and bills and salaries.