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R-1 designates staff essential workers

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Earlier this month, Bolivar R-1 School District took a step to help keep more of its staff on campus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As we continue to have more faculty and staff move into quarantine through contact tracing, the district will follow CDC and our local health department guidelines for essential workers for staff who do not have underlying health conditions,” R-1 said in a recent letter to employees. 

Board members Paula Hubbert, J. R. Collins, Kyle Lancaster, Jeralen Shive and Jared Taylor unanimously approved the decision at the board’s Tuesday, Sept. 29, meeting, following an update by superintendent Tony Berry on a shortage of substitutes in the district. 

Keri Clayton and Brandon Van Deren were absent.

According to the letter, designating staff as essential workers will allow those who have taken and received a negative test to return to work while taking extra precautions for the last seven days of their quarantine after they have completed seven days of quarantine from the date of exposure, if notified. 

The new guidelines took effect Monday, Oct.  5. 

“This is certainly not ideal, and our number one strategy must be preventive measures,” the letter reads. “There are several things we can do to limit our exposure at school and in public.”

According to the letter, those measures include: 

  • Maintain social distances of 6 feet or more at work and in public.

  • Wear a mask at work and when out in public.

  • Frequently wash hands with 1) soap and water 2) hand sanitizer as a back-up.

  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces.

  • Monitor self for symptoms prior to coming to work or attending social gatherings.

Staff are asked not to come to work if they are uncomfortable in coming back or are exhibiting symptoms.

Employees must check daily for typical COVID symptoms, including a fever of 100 degrees or higher, cough, sore throat or headache, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, new muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, prior to coming to work. This includes a temperature check prior to coming to school. 

“If you are experiencing these symptoms, do not come to work until these symptoms are resolved,” the letter reads. 

R-1 employees will have to follow certain conditions before returning to work if not symptomatic, including conferring with their building principals prior to coming back, taking their temperatures twice per day while at work, notifying their supervisors immediately if they develop symptoms and leaving to seek medical attention and wearing face masks at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after exposure. 

District staff is already required to wear a face mask when unable to distance 6 feet from others, and the essential worker mandate restates that requirement. 

Those returning early from quarantine must also routinely disinfect commonly shared electronic equipment and are permitted to go from home to work and from work to home, but to no other public places.

Other meeting

R-1 trustees also met Wednesday, Oct. 30. 

In the meeting, the board voted to set the 2020-2021 tuition rate at $8,110.10. Collins, Hubbert, Lancaster, Taylor and Van Deren voted to approve the rate. Shive had left the meeting before the vote, and returned afterward. Clayton was absent from the meeting. 

The board also unanimously approved a Google Chromebook and license purchase from CDW-G for $111,470. 

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