Months after putting an end to special leave for COVID-19 quarantine and isolation, North Pike trustees decided to award more leave to employees in case of infection.
The virulence and rising incidence of the virus’s delta variant prompted the additional benefit.
“We could do nothing, we could extend COVID leave or we could award additional sick leave days,” Superintendent Dr. Jay Smith said. “I think it’s fairest to give additional days to all our employees who qualify for sick leave.”
Smith recommended five additional days of sick leave for all qualified employees, which would be allowed to roll over like any other leave if not used this year.
“If we give this leave, we can help employees who may need to be quarantined,” Smith said.
Board members approved the extra leave 4-0, with Freddie Deer absent,
The board also heard reports on district upgrades.
District Technology Coordinator Greg Preuss told the board that C Spire was nearing completion of fiber installation to the district’s campuses, with the company nearing the middle school campus.
Another company, Cynergetics, has installed new wireless infrastructure for the district, and new computers will be installed district-wide starting in November.
Assistant superintendent Scott Hallmark said those upgrades are mostly funded by federal funds, under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief and eRate programs.
He said upgrade to the district’s heating and air systems are also underway, and a plan for new doors and windows at some campuses has been submitted to the state for approval.
Hallmark said the district would benefit greatly from the upgrades, especially in technology.
“When everything is complete, we’ll have all new equipment, and better equipment than most districts have,” he said.
In other business, the board:
• Awarded two 16th Section leases, a 115.6-acre tract to Hannah Causey for $12.24 per acre, and an 18-acre tract to Kevin Thomas for $10 per acre.
• Transferred funds to purchase a new school bus.
• Accepted bids of $69.225 per acre from Timco Acre for spraying 16th Section land, and $112.50 per acre from Reforestation Specialists for tree planting.
• Renewed workers compensation coverage through Benchmark for a premium of $66,030.
• Approved a contract with Machado/Patano for any architecture services on projects that might be funded by federal ESSER funding.
• Accepted the resignations of teacher Helen Stewart-Tucker and bus driver Ricky Brister.
• Hired assistant teacher Casey Lewis; substitute teacher Tyler Dillon; bus driver James McKinley; substitute bus drivers Dana Rutland, Barbara Anderson, Nack Ward, Richard McCullough and April Huff; substitute bus monitor Patricia St. Philip; and substitute cafeteria workers Gail Turner, Amy Boyd and Danielle Varnado.