The Jackson County Board of Education had its regular meeting on April 2. To honor the social distancing edict by the governor, most administrative personnel attended via phone. Board members in attendance were Steve Chancey, Ben Mize, Dan Barnette, and Bobbi Ferrell. Member Jim Frazier attended by phone.

While the main focus of the board was the change in the meal delivery system, other business was discussed as well.

The final reading and adoption of Revised Policy 7440.01 regarding video surveillance and electronic monitoring was completed. One aspect of this policy authorizes video and audio surveillance of all self-contained special education classrooms.

Several policy revisions received first readings for the board to consider adopting in a future meeting. The majority of the revisions were approved at the recent legislative session or directed by the West Virginia State Board of Education. These policies are available for review by visiting jack.k12.wv.us.

Two proposed policy revisions may be of particular interest.

School counselor positions were addressed in the 2020 legislative session. Board policy 2411’s proposed revision includes “school counselors shall spend at least eighty percent (80 percent) of work time in a direct counseling relationship with students and shall devote no more than twenty percent (20 percent) of the workday to administrative activities provided that such activities are counselor related.”

Another policy which will see a significant change is that of intra-state enrollment (Revised Policy 5113).

Superintendent of Schools Blaine Hess explained that prior to this revision, if a student from another county wanted to attend Jackson County schools, both county boards of education had to approve the move.

“Now only the receiving county will have to approve the request,” he said. “As far as transportation to the approved school, we try to accommodate the parent if possible. If there is room, the student can catch the bus at the bus stop nearest his home. But ultimately, it is the parent’s responsibility to provide transport.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great change to the school year. Students’ grades are a concern of both parents and educators. The board will follow the recommendation of the West Virginia State Board of Education that the student’s final grade per subject will be based on the last day of instruction on March 13. For those with low grades, there may be an opportunity to enhance those grades.

Packets have been prepared for all students. When those are returned to the school, care is taken to keep those in seclusion for one week before opening.

Food delivery for students has always been a major concern for the board. A change in the system will be implemented beginning the week of April 6.

“We have contracted to have meals prepared,” Hess explained. “And the delivery will be different as well.”

A total of 2,400 meal boxes have been ordered for the first week. This number is based on deliveries prior to spring break. The focus of the meal delivery is for those families most in need.

“Each meal box will contain five breakfasts and five lunches,” Hess explained. “They will be distributed at designated school sites and designated bus stops. Parents no longer have to call to request. But when the meals are picked up, the name, grade level and school attended must be provided.”

The meal delivery plan can be accessed by visiting the board’s website.

As a result of the health concerns now facing the county, a memorandum of understanding between Jackson General Hospital and the board has been reached. The agreement provides a method for the hospital to lease school bus services should they be needed to transport patients to Camden Clark Hospital in Parkersburg.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a contract with Agsten Construction in the amount of $26,300 for installation of metal roofing on the Sandyville storage facility

• Approved a contract with Murray Sheet Metal, Inc. in the amount of $109,750.20, for the purchase and installation of HVAC units at Gilmore Elementary School, Ripley Elementary School, Ripley Middle School, and Ripley High School

In personnel matters:

• Resignations: Barbara Parsons, assistant archery coach, Ravenswood Middle, effective March 26, 2020

• Employments: James Lawless, substitute bus operator, effective 2019-2020 school term; Barbara Parsons, archery coach, Ravenswood Middle effective April 3, 2020

• Other: Gwendolyn Richards, special education teacher Ripley Elementary, rescindment of family medical leave of absence effective March 16, 2020; Casey Drake, social worker, change in effective date of transfer from beginning 2020-2021 school year to April 6, 2020

The next meeting of the board will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21 at the administrative office building.