Poolville ISD board of trustees approved a resolution during a special meeting Tuesday to pay employees during school closures brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.
Contract employees will be paid their normal salaries, and wage employees will be paid for 40 hours per week, Superintendent Jeff Kirby said.
“As far as getting our staff paid, nobody has seen this coming,” Board President Lynn Duvall said. “We’ve got good teachers, good staff members across our district, and we’ve got to take care of them the best we can.”
Employees are working from home, though custodians are going to campuses for cleaning, and the grounds crew is mowing periodically, Kirby said. Teachers do come to their classrooms if they need something but are primarily working from home.
“These are all things where we’re never had more than two or three or four people together at one time,” Kirby said.
The board also discussed the district’s plan for meal distribution and instructional strategies during the closure. Families can pick up breakfast and lunch from 8-10 a.m. Monday through Friday at the elementary and junior high in a drive-through format through bus lanes. District staff will deliver meals for those who can’t pick them up.
Food service did not happen this week because the food truck arrives on Wednesdays, and staff needed time to package meals, Kirby said.
Kirby said 57% of the district’s students receive free or reduced lunch.
At this point, school is expected to start back on April 6, but if that doesn’t happen, then meals will be served on Mondays and Thursdays, Kirby said.
For instruction, the district is utilizing packets from Education Service Center Region 11 that are available for every grade level in English, math, science and social studies, Kirby said. Packets can be picked up with meals or delivered if necessary, and they are also available in the offices on campuses. A virtual learning lab for everyone is also available on the district’s website.
Kirby encouraged families to take advantage of the free virtual learning lab.
“We want to keep these kids developing concepts and building objectives on top of each other that they can take with them into the summer just in case we don’t go back to school, but the plan right now is to go back on April 6,” Kirby said.
If schools need to stay closed beyond April 6, Kirby said the district will plan one week at a time. At this point, schools in Texas are expected to reopen on April 6, but districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex have closed indefinitely. Kirby and district officials are keeping up with the news as well as with state and local officials for indicators of when school can resume as normal.
“I’m holding on hope that we go back and educate our kids to the best of our ability,” Kirby said.
Duvall said the district has done a good job handling the outbreak and is going in the right direction moving forward.
“It’s a day-to-day battle, seems to be,” Duvall said. “We’d like to plan out farther, but due to what we’re facing, it’s a day-to-day.”