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McKenzie School Board to Decide COVID-19 Policy on August 17

Posted 8/10/21

McKENZIE (August 3) — What is the school’s policy for COVID for the 2021-22 school year? That will be discussed and decided during a special meeting on Tuesday, August 17, 5:30 p.m. at the Board Office, located on Bell Avenue.

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McKenzie School Board to Decide COVID-19 Policy on August 17

Posted

McKENZIE (August 3) — What is the school’s policy for COVID for the 2021-22 school year? That will be discussed and decided during a special meeting on Tuesday, August 17, 5:30 p.m. at the Board Office, located on Bell Avenue.

After a long discussion during the August 3 board meeting concerning quarantines, social distancing, vaccines, and virtual schools, the board decided to gather more information, stakeholders’ input, and monitor the number of COVID infections in the county and area.

In lieu of a new COVID policy for 2021-22, the school is continuing with its 2020-21 COVID policy, sans the mask mandates, which were eliminated during the final weeks of the last school year.

A proposal was postponed which would have allowed students, who have contact with a person who tests positive for COVID, that contact person would have to remain asymptomatic, wear a mask, and not participate in any extracurricular activities. Board Member Misty Aird said administrators and teachers were vaccinated to avoid being quarantined.

The Tennessee General Assembly voted to prohibit schools from having virtual schools and also prohibits schools from requiring vaccines. Schools can still require other vaccines, unless there are health counteractions or religious objections.

In other business, McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland addressed the board concerning the contract between the City of McKenzie and McKenzie Special School District for the use of two ball fields at the McKenzie City Park. The contract price increased from $2,000 annually to $3,500. Mayor Holland said the $2,000 price was unchanged for 10 years while the cost of providing services increase. She provides an itemized lists of services, which are estimated to cost the city $6,040 annually. The school pays $3,500 to use the two fields for both fall and spring sports.

The board approved amendments to school board policies to comply with new state laws. One is student-athletes must compete on teams according to his or her birth gender. In other policies, the school approved a policy to assure the school complies with cyber infrastructure to guard against cyber attacks. The school must offer advanced courses to all students, according to state law. Lynn Watkins, director of schools, said the school offers dual enrollment through Bethel University and TCAT-McKenzie for all students.

A new policy is a policy concerning family life education. All schools must teach family life. The school is awaiting guidance before establishing a formal policy. Parents can opt out for their children.

The school must provide career guidance to seventh and eighth graders after providing a career aptitude test. Watkins said the school is already providing that service.

A policy concerning truancy was also approved. It is designed to encourage the student to attend and remain in school through levels of intervention and parent meetings.

A policy added indicates home-school teachers must either have a high school diploma, GED or HiSET. The local LEA must monitor students, who are home schooled within their districts.

Jaden Barton, a senior at MHS, was administered the oath to service as the student representative to the board. She serves in an advisory, non-voting position.

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