Part Two of the August 10th Pocahontas BOE Meeting

In this second story about the Pocahontas County Board of Education’s August 10th meeting, we will talk about other actions taken at the meeting besides the revisions to the reentry plan for the upcoming school year that we talked about in the part one. But first, here is an official summary of those reentry plan changes approved by the board which was just received from the Superintendent.

  • “Masks/face coverings in buildings are now optional unless either the Governor or Health Department mandates their use. Masks/face coverings are still required on buses.”
  • “3 foot of social distancing is to be enforced to the greatest extent possible.  The reason we say to the greatest extent possible is because we have a couple of very large classes that make it practically impossible to get 3 feet apart.”
  • “We will not be putting down floor stickers to keep the spacing accurate. We ask that students stay an arm’s length apart if at all possible.”
  • “We are offering virtual instruction through the Proximity Learning platform to all students in grades K-5 that request it. Parents need to contact their principal prior to Monday, August 23 at 4:00 to register or call Lynne Bostic at the office.”
  • “We are not following the DHHR map as a guide to masking.”
  • “We will continue to deep clean schools and buses.”
  • “All other mitigation strategies remain in place.”

In other actions at the meeting:

In his report to the board, Superintendent Beam announced that Shana M. Alderson has been hired as the new Principal at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective July 1, 2021. He also said the first day back for school employees will be Thursday, August 12th.  Beam said he has notified the WV School Building authority (SBA) that the county schools will be applying for a Needs Grant this fall for funds to purchase and install new heating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) for those schools who are not getting them through the American Rescue Plan.  Beam also said they will apply for a Major Improvement Project (MIP) next spring to replace the roof at Marlinton Elementary School.

Director of Maintenance Ron Hall announced that the sewer system at PCHS, which had been damaged in the recent flood, will be operational hopefully by August 12th, when the employees return to work. He said that at least the two smaller tanks, which had not been damaged, will be able to be used for two or three days until the repair of the big tank is completed. He also said that the installation of LED lighting at Marlinton Elementary School has started.

J.L. Clifton, representing the Marlinton Elementary School Local School Improvement Council (LSIC) said he wanted to clarify that he never suggested that other schools not receive air conditioning until Marlinton Elementary School also receives it. He just wanted to be assured there is a trackable plan for his school to receive it, and now feels like there is one. Clifton also felt the current Excess Heat Policy is inadequate. Mr. Beam agreed with that and later in the meeting the board placed that policy on 30-day review where changes can be made to the policy, including incorporating some of the suggestions Clifton offered.

Director of Transportation Ruth Bland announced she was looking at ways to increase the pay for Professional Employees that also serve as Emergency Substitute Bus drivers, so that they receive as much as Service Personnel staff who also serve as Emergency Substitute Bus Drivers.

The board approved routine financial reports and approved excluding themselves from the boards Workers Compensation Plan.

Additionally, the board:

  • Approved using the Wendell Company as the architect for the Energy Savings Company (ESCO) to implement the Energy Savings Project for the HVAC systems at Green Bank Elementary Middle School and Marlinton Middle School.
  • Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Community Care of West Virginia to provide healthcare services at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School; Marlinton Middle School; Marlinton Elementary School and PCHS for the upcoming school year.
  • Approved a contract with Diana Smith, Certified School Psychologist.
  • Approved a contract with Melanie Mason, Physical Therapist.
  • Approved a contract with Leslie Goodall, Occupational Therapist.
  • Approved an MOU with the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition.
  • Accepted the bid from Prairie Farms Dairy for purchasing dairy products.
  • Approved to roll-over the bids from Tri-County Wholesale Products.
  • Approved a list of recommended personnel actions

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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