Superintendent addresses parents concerns on returning students to in-class instruction

The Greene County Board of Education met in regular session Monday, September 20, 2021. One of the key issues addressed related to the re-opening of face-to-face classes for students. Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones stated that various official health reports indicate that COVID positive cases are down in Greene County at this time. He also said that the data indicates that achievement rates are lower among students who are in virtual programs. “My main concerns are for the safety of our students and, just as important, my concern for the achievement of our students. We cannot allow our students to continue to fall back,” he explained.
Several parents were in attendance and were allowed an opportunity to express their concerns which related to cleaning routines at school facilities, availability of cleaning supplies, the cooling system at Robert Brown Middle School, alternate instructional programs for students with pre conditions, and the consideration of implementing the Hybrid Instructional Plan where the number of students in a class is reduced. Dr. Jones addressed these assuring all that the maintenance department worked additional hours each day for repeated cleaning of facilities. He stated that the school system will remain in full attendance at this time, but students needing alternative instructional methods will be considered on an individual basis. He added that parents can make such requests through the school principal or directly to him.
As part of the personnel items presented to the board, Superintendent Jones recommended the suspension of Corey Cockrell as teacher and coach for five days without pay. The board held a closed conference with Cockrell and when returning to open session, no action was taken on the superintendent’s recommendation.
Regarding other personnel items recommended, the board approved the following:
Employment: Marqavius King as 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School. Resignation: Nyesha Watson as 1st Grade Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School; Jamar Jackson as Custodian at Robert Brown Middle School.
Supplemental Contracts: Elroy Skinner as Assistant Football Coach at RBMS; Cyonti Lewis as Assistant Football Coach at GCHS,  
The board approved the following administrative items presented by the superintendent.
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by LaVonda Blair, CSFO.
Confirmation of Interim CSFO Contract.
* Confirmation for Limited Financial Agreement.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board and Stillman College Foundation.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board and the University of Alabama Dual Enrollment.
* Memorandum of Understanding between Greene County Board of Education and UAB for voluntary COVID weekly testing for students, faculty and staff, pending attorney’s review and superintendent’s agreement.
* Contract between Greene County Board and Malysa Chandler for Educational Consulting Services.
* Partnership between Greene County Schools and Alabama Cooperative Extension Services for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program.

Greene County school system’s chief financial officer resigns

The Greene County Board of Education met in a special call meeting, Thursday, September 2, 2021, for matters involving the system’s CSFO, Lavonda Blair and for personnel matters. Following an executive session, the board voted unanimously to accept the CSFO’s resignation, effective September 16, 2021. The board did not disclose reasons for the resignation. Ms. Lavonda Blair was hired as Chief School Financial Officer for the Greene County School System, on a three year contract, beginning August 1, 2018. In June of this year, the board renewed Blair’s contract effective July 1, 2021, expiring June 30, 2024. The board authorized the President, Dr. Carol Zippert, with the assistance of the Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, to seek temporary personnel to continue the tasks in the system’s CSFO Department, especially regarding the closeout of the books for the current fiscal year ending September 30. The board further authorized President Zippert and Vice-President Kashaya Cockrell to initiate the search for a qualified CSFO for the system. Regarding personnel items, the board approved the superintendent’s recommendation to hire the following: Mary Henderson as Secretary for the Department of Transportation; Cyontai Lewis as Physical Education Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School. Following the close of the board meeting, Superintendent Jones announced that Greene County Schools would continue the remote learning program for approximately another two-weeks, up to the next regularly scheduled school board meeting, September 20, 2021. Dr. Jones noted that his decision is based on the rising number of COVID virus cases in Greene County and the surrounding region. According to Jones, each school would prepare lesson packages for students not yet able to participate in the on -line virtual classes. “We had to secure more tablets or repair existing ones as well as purchase more hot-spots for students in areas not accessible to the internet. Even with the hot-spots, some students are having difficulties logging-on. To address this, the system is arranging for log-on spots (crater points) that students can access,” he said. Dr. Jones urged everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. “The low vaccinated rate in our county, including among parents, school personnel and eligible students, is the main reason the COVID virus is attacking us,” Jones said. It was also announced that beginning with the September 20th meeting, the board will hold its regular monthly meetings at 5:30 pm in the Central Office.

Greene County schools return to virtual classes as COVID positive case rise

The Greene County Board of Education met in a special called meeting, Friday, August 20, 2021 to address the school system’s need to revert to virtual classes due to the number of positive COVID cases among students and school personnel. Subsequently, the board approved Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones’ recommendation to end in-person classes from August 20 until September 7, and further authorized the superintendent to extend the virtual program beyond that date, up to the September board meeting, if pandemic health issues warranted the same. At the time of the board meeting, 32 positive cases in the school system had been reported. According to Dr. Jones, the tracing procedures indicated that these positive cases did not originate in the school system. The August 20 Greene County High School football game scheduled in Aliceville was cancelled due to one player testing positive, which may have exposed others. To date, the number of reported positive COVID cases among students is 32, with 12 in quarantine and 8 positive cases among school personnel. The GCHS football team is scheduled to play Keith in Orrville, Friday, August 27. The Alabama Athletic Association stated that athletes who are vaccinated and become exposed may still play. According to Dr. Jones, school officials have prepared educational packets for students to avoid a gap in learning as the technical devices are distributed or upgraded. “Some students did not return their tablets at the end of the previous school term as requested, and some tablets turned in were damaged and had to be sent out for repairs. The tablets that were returned in good order were re-issued.” he stated. Dr. Jones noted that students’ school issued tablets would be activated and hot spots would be provided for those students needing the device. The board also approved the revised School Resource Officer Contract for 2021-2022, as recommended by the superintendent. Once the board meeting had adjourned, GCHS Coach Corey Cockrell and some football players expressed concerns regarding the school’s football program.

Board holds Budget Hearing

Parents concerned about COVID positive cases in schools; anxious for alternative programs

Parents attend school board meeting to express concerns for children’s safety with rising COVID positive cases in some schools.

The Greene County Board of Education, at its regular session, Monday August 16, 2021, held the first of two required public Budget Hearings relative to the 2021-2022 fiscal year.  The second public Budget Hearing is scheduled for Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 4:30 in the Board’s Central Office.

  Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones opened his report with a statement that the school system has received information that five students at one of the schools have tested positive for the coronavirus. (Editor’s Note: At press time Wednesday, the school system had 20 students reported COVID positive.)  Those students are currently in isolation and no longer in school.  He noted that his immediate response was to implement contact tracing and send written communications to the parents of students who may have had contact with the students reported to have tested positive.  He cautioned all parents to monitor their children closely and have them tested at any signs of related illness.  He also urged parents to get their children who are of age vaccinated, and to encourage other adults to get vaccinated as well.

    “We are implementing all methods we can to provide a safe environment in our schools, but in this situation, the children testing positive did not get infected in school.  Contact tracing indicated this occurred in the community.  There is a rise in the spread of COVID 19 and its variants all over Alabama, including Greene County.  Vaccinations are still at a low rate, and without a mandatory mask mandate for the public, our community is greatly exposed,” Jones stated.  

    He emphasized that masks are required by everyone in Greene County schools and school properties. “We are also not allowing visitors at the schools.  This is another measure to keep students and personnel safe,”  he said.

    Superintendent Jones remarked that, understandably, parents are concerned about the safety and welfare of their children and are anxious about continuing to send them to in-school classes.  “ We are also monitoring the COVID situation closely, giving attention to the guidance of all health agencies and directives from the Governor’s office, and we will be prepared to make adjustments in school operations as authorized and needed,” he stated. “ Virtual learning is currently available for students who have serious underlying conditions,” Jones added.

    Jones reminded that  officials from the State Department of Health will be at Robert Brown Middle School and Greene County High on Wednesday, August 18 to hold clinics and administer vaccinations,  with parental consent, to students 12 year and older. 

    A number of parents attended the board meeting to express their concerns, during public comments, about the report of students with COVID positive and the risk to their children continuing with the in-school classes. Parents, seemingly, were seeking assurance that school officials would keep their children safe.  They were also anxious to know the specific plans for an alternative academic program (virtual classes).  Many expressed that they were considering keeping their children home, even if they were not COVID positive.  One parent expressed that the news that some students from a particular school had the virus was a traumatic experience for her child.

    Superintendent Jones repeated the process for continuous sanitizing of all school facilities; mandating masks; sanitizing hands, and stated he will be contacting State Department of Education regarding alternative schooling.

    In continuing his report, Superintendent Jones noted that current school enrollment is down. “We have 838 students enrolled to date; so far there is a decrease in the ADM by 46.65%.  We have 152 employees.   All bus drivers are vaccinated and with 19 bus routes and 19 buses, all but seven are equipped with air conditioning, and buses on the longest routes have air conditioning,” he said.  

    Jones stated that buses have to be purchased on a staggered schedule, to comply with state directives and benefit from the limited state resources for the Transportation Department. 

“If we bought five buses now, these are likely to need replacing at the same time and we would not have sufficient resources to replace all five,” he explained. 

    Jones also noted that there will be greater emphasizes on student reading and Math improvement, with interventionists at each school; this is in addition to the regular classroom teachers.

    The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent. 

Rescind: Calvin Finch –  History Teacher, Greene County High School; Tanisha Strode-2nd grade Teacher at Eutaw Primary School.

Employment: Ralph Marshall – History Teacher, Greene County High School; Brittany Jenkins – Math Intervention, Greene County High School; Randall White – Maintenance, Greene County Board of Education; Glenara Faust – Fifth Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; LaDaisha Grace – Seventh/Eight Grade Social Studies, Robert Brown Middle School; Tabitha Smith – In-School Suspension Facilitator, Robert Brown Middle School; Nyesha Watson – First Grand Teacher, Eutaw Primary; Destiny Taylor – Long Term Substitute, Eutaw Primary; Shana Lucy – Third Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary.

Voluntary Transfer: Pamela Pasteur, from First Grade Teacher to Reading Intervention Teacher, Eutaw Primary School; Corey Cockrell, from PE Teacher at Robert Brown to 9th Grade, Greene County High; Sherita Pickens, from 3rd Grade Teacher to Math Intervention Teacher, Eutaw Primary; Felecia Smith, from 6th Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle to Math Intervention Teacher, Robert Brown Middle; Tameshia Porter, English Teacher Greene County High to Reading Intervention Greene County High.

Supplemental Contracts Robert Brown Middle School:  Henry Miles, Head Football Coach; Quentin Walton, Assistant Football Coach; Ladasia Grace, Girl Basketball Coach; Henry Miles, 8th Grade Boys’ Basketball Coach; Elroy Skinner, 8th Boys’ Assistant Coach; Quentin Walton, 7th grade Boys’ Basketball Coach.

Supplemental Contracts, Greene County High School: Corey Cockrell, Head Football Coach; Janice Jeames Askew, Volleyball Coach; Halven Carodine, Assistant Boys Basketball Coach, Boys.

     The Board approved the following administrative items. 

* Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.

* Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. LaVonda Blair, CSFO.

* Resolution Agreement Special Education.

* Certificate of Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Brandon Comer of    Comer Capital Group.

* Authorize Attorney Hank Sanders to interact on vaping lawsuit and bring back written proposal to the board for consideration.

School board authorizes use of masks; superintendent presents goals for 2021-2022 school year

The Greene County Board of Education met in a call meeting Thursday, July 29, 2021, focusing on three specific agenda items: Personnel, Masks in the school system and Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones Goals for 2021-2022 school year.

    The three board members present (Kashaya Cockrell, Leo Branch and Carol Zippert) voted to authorize Superintendent Jones to implement the use of masks, as needed, in the school system for 2021-2022. The Alabama Department of Health is urging mask-wearing for all students and staff, following the recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for universal mask-wearing in schools, regardless of vaccination status, due to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases as the contagious delta variant of the virus spreads through the country. 

    Following a brief executive session, the board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent for the 2021-2022 school term.

Employment at Robert Brown Middle School: Carlie Rhodes as 4th Grade Teacher; Tavoris Lacy as 7th/8th Grade English Teacher; Tyletha Lord as Library Media.

Employment at Greene County High School:  Calvin Finch as History Teacher; Jakayla Woods as Science Teacher.

Eutaw Primary School: Dothea Smith as long-term substitute, 2nd Grade Teacher.

Resignation: Alphonzo Morton,III as Science Teacher, Greene County High School.

    For the remainder of the meeting, Superintendent Jones presented 10 goals he will focus on for the 2021-2022 school term, including the strategies for implementation and measurements.  Dr. Jones noted that his goals correspond to goals and areas of focus in the system’s Strategic Plan.

    As he presented each goal, Dr. Jones and board members engaged in discussions that provided more specifics relative to the strategies for implementation with timelines and measurements.  The board members requested that these additional approaches and means are included in the superintendent’s document of goals. 

    The following is a listing of the superintendent’s goals 

Goal 1: Maintain a safe and healthful environment that maximizes learning for students and      staff. 

Goal 2: Analyze and evaluate all aspects of the district’s academic and curriculum work.  Continue to improve student mathematics and reading achievement at all grade levels for all students and decrease achievement gaps where they exist.

Goal 3: Work in partnership with the community to enrich educational programs and create a true school community. Schedule quarterly town hall community meetings to enhance collaboration, communication and engagement.

Goal 4: Meet monthly with Superintendent’s Advisory Council to learn more about what our students’ value in their education and their ideas for improvement of the Greene County School District.

Goal 5: Develop and monitor a plan to improve and maintain a graduation rate of at least 90%.

Goal 6: Meet with local and state elected officials to continue to develop collaborative relationships.

Goal 7: Ensure that the district is financially solvent by continuing to monitor the district financial position and ensure that the district maintain the state mandated operating reserve.  Work with the CSFO to ensure that all funds are expended in the most efficient manner.

Goal 8: Attend professional development opportunities to increase leadership skills.

Goal 9: Develop and monitor a plan to reduce the district’s long term financial obligations.

Goal 10: Develop and monitor  plan to access and meet the professional development needs of          the administrative leadership of the district.

School system completes assessments; plans summer school for credit recovery and enhancement

The Greene County Board of Education held its regular meeting Monday, May 17, 2021 in the Board’s Central Office, observing coronavirus precautions. Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones opened his report to the board stating that all assessments have been completed, including Pre-ACT, ACT Work Keys, ACCESS for EllS, ACT With Writing, ACAP Alternative, and ACAP Summative. “Having students return to at-school classes was a key factor in completing student assessments,” he stated. He noted that the various assessments will assist the system in addressing any learning loss as well as provide enhancement programs. Dr. Jones stated that the system’s summer school is scheduled for June 7 – July 8. The summer program is designed for credit recovery and enhancement. Classes will be held from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm with no cost to students. He noted that transportation and lunch will also be provided. “This is an opportunity for students to complete or improve course work as well as participate in enhancement classes and projects, however, to receive credit, attendance is required,” he said. Dr. Jones presented the student in-class return rate as follows: Eutaw Primary – 214 of 332; Robert Brown Middle -184 of 348; Greene County High – 113 of 269; totaling 511 students of 949. Virtual classes are also continuing. According to Superintendent Jones, Greene County High School has 67 senior students with 60 seniors having satisfied all requirements for graduation. The remaining seven students have until Thursday, May 20, to meet the requirements to participate in the graduation ceremony. Students who complete their requirements after May 20, may still receive their diplomas. The 2021 Greene County High School graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 21, on the athletic field at Robert Brown Middle School. Each graduate will be allowed four guests. Coronavirus precautions will be observed. In his ‘COVID” report, the superintendent stated that only one employee from Eutaw Primary School had to be quarantined due to exposure to the virus. Jones noted that the Central Office roofing project completion has been moved to June 15, due to weather delays and company employee issues. The superintendent announced that the school system will receive $3.3 million through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II (ESSER) funds, noting that a portion of these funds can be applied to capital improvements such as replacing outdate heating and cooling systems in school facilities. ESSER III funds which will be awarded through the American Rescue Act will provide an even greater pot of funds for school improvement. Under the personnel items, the board approved the non-renewal of non-tenured school personnel recommended by the superintendent. Dr. Jones noted that many are likely to be recalled for the upcoming school term. With the superintendent’s recommendation, the board acted on other personnel items.:

* Approved employment of Delois Brantley, Janitor, Maintenance Department; Dorothy Powell, Special Services Bus Aide, Department of Transportation.

* Approved retirement of Mary Armayor, Librarian, Robert Brown Middle School, effective June 3, 2021; Bernice Smith, Lab Technician, Eutaw Primary School, effective, June 1, 2021.

* Approved to rescind employment of Stephanie Spencer, Special Services Bus Aide – did not accept position.

* Approved Supplemental Contract for Coach Corey Cockrell, in the sum of $3,800.00 for all duties related to Athletics in the school year of 2020-2021 for the Greene County School System.

* Approved the superintendent hiring Summer School Teachers and bringing back selected non-tenured teachers for Summer School.

• Approved proposal pay increase to $10 per hour for CNP Substitutes. The board approved the following administrative services items recommended by the superintendent.

* Agreement between Community Service Programs of West Alabama Inc. Head Start / Early Head Start and Greene County Board.

* Contract Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Amy Quitt, for Speech-Language Therapy Services.

*Approval of Summer School Program starting June 7, 2021 – July 8, 202.

* Approval to purchase carpet for Central Office Building.

* Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Kim Herren, for Development Delay Services.

* Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Valuable Informative Psychometric Services. *Contract Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and WeCare Therapy Services, LLC. *Agreement between Greene County Board and Mastery Works Test Prep, LLC.

* Approval of Infinite Potential, Grades 9-12 Summer Youth Program.

* Approval of Greene County Schools Travel Policy.

* Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.

* Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. LaVonda Blair, CSFO.

* Permission to pay for Greene County High School Seniors Prom.

* Approval of Shaneka’s Nursing Services to provide health care to Special Needs Student During Summer School. * Approval of Contractual Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Courtney Duff, BDA West Alabama Therapy LLC.

Greene County Schools use funds resulting from COVID-19 to improve academic program, staff development, facilities upgrade

To support schools and districts in addressing the impact of COVID-19, Congress has provided financial support through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Funds are allocated to each state in the same proportion as their Title I, Part A grants. In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included $13 billion in ESSER funds. In December 2020, an additional $54 billion for ESSER II was allocated through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) authorized another $122 billion for ESSER III (also called “ARP ESSER”) in March 2021.  With the CARES ACT of March 2020, Alabama was allocated $217 M for its K-12 schools, administered through ESSER 1. The Greene County School System received approximately $864,000. ESSER I provided resources for additional student services in curriculum and instruction; staff development and professional services; Special Education Services; PPE supplies and safety and sanitation of facilities in preparation for students to return to on site classes; technology including learning aids for students’ virtual classes; transportation; health services which included equipping nurses stations; other sundry services for the system. These funds must be spent by 2022. Following the CRRSA Act signed December, 2020, Alabama received $899 M for ESSER II. Greene County School System has been allocated approximately $3.3 M in ESSER II funds. According to Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, the system is in the process of completing its ESSER II plan, which must be submitted to the State Board of Education by June, 2021. Dr. Jones noted that 50% of these funds can be allocated to upgrading facilities, with the remaining supporting curriculum and learning loss with enhanced summer school programs; technology expansion and upgrade across the system; staff development; continued safety measures in facilities; supplies, etc. These funds must be spent by 2023. In the recently passed American Rescue Plan of March 2021, Alabama is likely to receive $2 B to distribute through the ESSER 3 fund. Although the specific guidelines have not been released, more than 80% of these funds will be used to address unfinished learning and supporting the school system’s return to in-person learning. The ARP specifically states that the public school system must spend 20% of ESSER funds to directly address student learning loss. Districts have the flexibility to use the ESSER funds on any “activity authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.” As a condition for receiving ESSER funds, state education agencies must continue to financially support K-12 public schools (maintenance of effort) at the same level or greater in fiscal 2022 and 2023 as they did on the average of fiscal 2017-2019. Similarly, state agencies and local districts may not reduce funding on a per-pupil basis (maintenance of equity). As the Legislature prepares to pass a state education budget, it cannot reduce funding to local school districts or the state risks losing ESSER funds. This is not expected to be an issue, with both Gov. Kay Ivey and the Legislature supporting increases in state funding.

GCHS graduation scheduled for Friday, May 21 Superintendent reports 53% of student enrollment returns to on-site classes

The Greene County Board of Education held its April 19, 2021 regular meeting face-to face in the Board’s Central Office, the first since November, 2020. All board members were in attendance and observed social distancing and wearing masks. In his report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones provided enrollment data of students since the Phase II Hybrid Plan went into effect on April 5, 2021. Eutaw Primary School reported 214 students (64.4 %) returning to on site classes; Robert Brown Middle School reported 184 students (52.8%) returning; and Greene County High School with 133 (42%) returning. “I am pleased that 511 (53.8%) of our students have returned to on site classes. We are continuing to provided our virtual academic program to the those students who have not chosen to return yet,” he said. Dr. Jones noted that he continues to monitor the status of COVID-19 rates in Greene County and surrounding areas. “Greene County had a positivity rate of 4.5% for the previous 14 days, but the risk factor was high, due to nine recent cases,” he stated. According to Jones, since Phase II has been implemented, zero cases have been detected in the schools, however one individual is in quarantine, due to exposure. Jones announced that Greene County High School 2021 graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 21, at 6:00 pm on the athletic field at Robert Brown Middle School, providing weather permits. Students will be allowed four invitations; social distancing and wearing masks and related safety measures will be observed. Regarding his report on facilities, the superintendent reported that water coolers have been installed in all school facilities; hot water will be added, where needed, to the bathrooms at Eutaw Primary and Robert Brown Middle. Phase I of the Bat Removal Project at RMB is completed, with Phase II to include installation of vents. The re-roofing at the central office did not meet the April 15 deadline due to inclement weather. The project is expected to be completed by mid May. The CSFO Lavonda Blair reported that the school system is financially sound, with an excess of $4 million in the combined fund balance. Blair presented the following financial snapshot as of February 28, 2021: General Fund Balance – $980,540.25; Accounts Payable Check Register – $390,509.33; Payroll Register – $811,704.03; and combined Fund Balance at $4,032,471.83. The board took action notifying the CSFO that it intends to continue her contract. The board approved the follow personnel items recommended by the superintendent. * Rescind employment of Vera Richardson, Special Services Bus Aide. * Employment of Stephanie L. Spencer, Special Services Bus Aide. * Catastrophic Leave for Bridgette Ward, from January 1, 2021 thru August 24, 2021. * Resignation of Brianna Bryant, Pre-K Teacher, Eutaw Primary School. * Retirement of Willie Gilmore, Cosmetology Instructor, Career Center, Effective June 1, 2021. The board approved the following administrative items. * Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll. * MariMac Academic Solutions, to perform ACT Testing services to Greene County Schools. * Contractual Agreement between Greene County Board and Denise Horton-Behavioral Aide, Eutaw Primary School. * Contractual Agreement between Greene County Board and Eleanor Smalls, Behavioral Aide, Greene County High School. * Approval of 2021-2022 School Calendar. * Adoption of Math Textbook Series. * Professional Development Agreement between Greene County Board and Kathi Wilson, LLC. for the 2021-2022 School Year. * School Resource Officer Contract for 2020-2021 School Year.

Greene County Schools equip classrooms to protect returning students and staff

The Greene County School System resumed face-to-face instruction at its school facilities utilizing the Phase II Hybrid Plan, beginning Monday, April 5, 2021. As shown in photos, each student desk has a three-sided plexiglass shield and masks are required for students and all school personnel. According to Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, temperature checks are administered each morning automatically as students and staff enter the facility. Hand sanitizers are available in each classroom and throughout the facility. Air purifiers are installed in each classroom. Dr. Jones stated that he is very pleased with the conduct of students and staff on the first days back at the schools. “ I want to commend our students, teachers and staff for the outstanding cooperation they demonstrated on returning to the face-to-face academic program. Everyone wore their masks and were sensitive to keeping safe distances and just trying to keep each other safe,” he said. Superintendent Jones noted the on-site school enrollments for the initial day back: Eutaw Primary with 214 students; Robert Brown Middle School with 220 students and Greene County High School with 125 students. Virtual classes are still available. Students who are returning to on-site classes are scheduled by the beginning letter of the last name. Students with last names A to M will attend classes on Monday and Tuesday; students with last names N to Z will attend classes Wednesday and Thursday. All academic programs are virtual on Fridays.

Superintendent Jones schedules reopening of on-site classes in Greene County Schools

Dr. Corey Jones

At the regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, held virtually, March 15, 2021, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones announced the reopening of schools, Monday, April 5, with on-site academic classes. Dr. Jones presented an overview of the Road Map to Reopening utilizing the system’s Phase II Hybrid Schedule. According to Jones, the decision to bring the students back is based on several factors including the substantial decrease in COVID-19 positive rates for the county; all school employees having had the opportunity to begin their vaccination process; continuous sanitation of all school premises; placement of plexiglass dividers in classrooms for teachers and students and other related safety measures. Dr. Jones noted that more than 50% of school personnel have had their first coronavirus vaccination. Reopening plans include the following: Students with last names beginning with A to M will attend classes all day Mondays and Tuesdays; Students with last names beginning N to Z will attend classes all day Wednesdays and Thursdays; Students will log in virtually on Fridays for tutoring or enrichment. Sanitizing of all facilities will also occur on Fridays; Students and school personnel must wear masks, reusable masks will be provided by the school system; School lunches will be served in the classrooms; Students school uniforms have been suspended for remaining current school term, but appropriate dress codes will be in place; School buses will operate at one half capacity with planned seating separation. The system’s reopening plan will be posted on the web site. Parents may elect to keep their children in the all virtual program. The superintendent emphasized that it is imperative to get students back with face-to-face instruction to further prepare for the State Department of Education ACAP Assessment. “This assessment will provide scientific basis of just where our students are academically,” he said. Dr. Jones announced that he is planning a summer school program with details to be provided later. The CSFO, Lavonda Blair, presented a snapshot financial report for January 2021. She indicated that the school system continues in a sound financial state, maintaining appropriate cash and investment reserves. Ms. Blair reported that, due to the coronavirus, there was a delay in the system receiving property taxes on a timely basis from the Revenue Commissioner’s office, however, there is an increase in the tax receipts. Ms. Blair noted that the State Examiners of Public Accounts office is conducting a routine financial and legal compliance audit of the Greene County Board of Education for the period October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. In other business the board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Jones. * Employment: Michael Moore, Maintenance, Greene County School System; Tina Cherry, Full-time Custodian, Eutaw Primary School; Vera Richardson, Special Services Bus Aide, Department of Transportation. * Retirement: Jeffery Wesley, Physical Education Teacher, Eutaw Primary School. • Catastrophic Leave: Kalya Gray, Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School. The board approved the following administrative items recommended. * Emergency contract with Conserv Wildlife Services, to resolve bat issues at Robert Brown Middle School. * County School System establish and maintain only one Athletic Booster Club with all funds being deposited therein and properly shared among teams regardless of gender. * Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.