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Demopolis Board of Education mandates masks for all schools until September 30

The Demopolis Board of Education voted to mandate masks for the beginning of the school year amid spikes in the Delta variant of COVID-19. The decision was made during a special called board of education meeting last Thursday, August. 5.

The mask mandate will be in place until September 30 when the board re-evaluates the COVID-19 situation. Cases of the Delta variant are quickly rising, and an increasing number of the cases are among school-age children. The September 30 date is to cover for potential surges after Labor Day.

Several state agencies, including the Department of Public Health and Department of Public Transportation and of Education, are urging mask requirements for the upcoming school year. The infection rate of the Delta variant has increased faster in the last few weeks than any time during the initial pandemic outbreak. Superintendent Tony Willis said all the surrounding school systems have mandated masks for the semester.

Willis also said that the state Attorney General announced that schools do not have the legal authority to quarantine students and personnel or the authority to require proof of vaccination. Schools will only be allowed these actions if a student or personnel person tests positive. Other requirements are being implemented alongside the mask mandate to slow the spread of the virus.

All four schools will have a supply of masks for students or personnel who do not have their own.

“We are in no danger of running short of masks any time soon,” said Willis. “We’re not going to turn kids away because they don’t have a mask.”

The school system is also not offering virtual learning at the moment, but it will be an option if schools are required to shut down again. Willis

Items approved by the board:

The board approved TEAMS Contracts

Approved the purchase of a new dishwasher for DHS. Dishwasher will cost an estimated $45,000.

Approved the Salary and Supplement Schedule

Consent Items

Contract with Kirk Brooker, DMS art

Contract with Becky Holley, WES art

Contract with Leon Clark, Truancy Supervisor

Contract with Jessica Dial, Central Office assistance

Contract with Dustin Bedwell for maintenance assistance

Contract Shon Jones for groundskeeping assistance.

Personnel Report

Conditional Employment

Angel Beville, WES special education

Katelyn Thomaston, WES aide

Charlotte Fowlkes, USJ teacher

Transfers/Reassignments

Eugena Williams from DMS to USJ as gifted teacher

Labrina Dunklin from WES lunchroom worker to assistant manager at WES

Supplement for Derrick Hester for Professional Development Coordinator was discontinued because of a change in job title.

The next Demopolis Board of Education meeting will be Monday, August 16 at 5:15 p.m.

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