A revision to the Prentiss County School District’s policy regarding COVID-19 is aimed at keeping more students in school unless it’s absolutely necessary to send them home.
The board voted Monday to revise the policy on COVID-19 quarantine to require quarantine only for students who have tested positive for the virus instead of requiring quarantine for those who may have been exposed to the virus but are showing no symptoms.
Superintendent Jeff Palmer said the goal of the change is to reduce the number of students who are forced to miss school but who never show symptoms or actually get the virus.
The board also voted Monday against allowing New Site High School to establish a junior high school baseball team made up of seventh and eighth graders from either Marietta or Hills Chapel schools. Palmer said after researching the issue he’s learned the Mississippi High School Activities Association, which governs school sports in the state, only allows such co-op teams made up of students from multiple schools at the high school level and not at the junior high school level.
The board also heard updates from leaders at Hills Chapel Elementary School, Marietta Elementary School, and the Prentiss County Career and Technical Center as part of a series of monthly updates from principals in the district.
Career and Technical Center Director Bill Glover said he’s excited about recent improvements and future changes at the school.
Glover told the board enrollment at the center is up around 15 percent for the current school year with higher enrollment in almost all programs.
He said they’ve added new equipment recently in several classes and are continuing to work to update equipment throughout the center.
He’s particularly excited about the school’s work-based learning program which places students into real-world positions in their chosen fields giving them hands-on experience with potential careers.
They’ve also recently begun working on a major project, known as Project Outlaw, in which a 1975 GMC 1500 pickup was donated to the school and is being restored from the ground up as a class project for students learning auto repair and metalwork. When completed the truck will either be auctioned or raffled off to raise funds for the center.
Hills Chapel Principal Marsha Woodruff said things are going well at the school in her first year and she’s been impressed by the way all the teachers have stepped up to face the challenges of the past several years.
“The teachers have stepped up in a big way,” she said.
She pointed to several teachers at the school whose students have seen major success on state tests and said they’re blessed to have a strong faculty that is devoted to ensuring every child is successful.
Woodruff said they’ve completed several projects recently on campus including painting in the gym and new restrooms in the elementary wing.
Ongoing needs include drainage repairs and improvements and window and door replacements.
First-year Marietta Elementary School Principal Steven Cooper said community outreach has been a key focus at his school. They’ve made several efforts including hosting a breakfast for area ministers and establishing a community bulletin board for events to help get the community even more involved.
He said a poll of the staff showed three major projects as priorities – painting the halls, exterior lighting, and restroom and sound system improvements in the gym.
He praised his teachers for their hard work and said it’s impressive to see what they do every day in ensuring all students are cared for and educated.
In other business, the board:
Approved the following as student teachers: Jessica Ross (Marietta), Jamie Kimery (Wheeler)
Approved the following new hires: Regina Kuykendall (fifth and sixth-grade math at Marietta), Ripley Mize at Thrasher, and Tim Fugitt (part-time maintenance at Thrasher)
Accepted the resignations of Larry Eaton (Wheeler Alternative Bus Route Drive), Phillip Moore (New Site Bus Driver).
Approved Kathy Morrison as a part-time reading interventionist at Jumpertown
Approved the following as substitute teachers – Jessica Marhsall, Chelsey Perez, Vanity Langston, Mike Carter, Cindy Jones, Amy Pharr, Megan Moore, Thelma Burcham.
Approved the following volunteers: Carter Smith (New Site, athletic bus driver); Reba Downs (Marietta)
Approved Rodney Moore as a shuttle bus driver at New Site
Approved Curtis McCormick and Andrew Brown as substitute bus drivers at Marietta
Approved Chelsey Perez as a full-time cafeteria worker at Thrasher
Approved Christine Key as a substitute cafeteria worker for Marietta and New Site