LABELLE -- Hendry County School District Superintendent Michael Swindle informed board members of the latest COVID-19 developments during the Sept. 21 regular meeting.
Board member Dwayne Brown asked Swindle for a student COVID-19 update after the district’s business had been completed.
Swindle said during last week the student count had been trending around the 30s, 40s and low 50s throughout the school district, with a count of 25 students as of Sept. 20.
“Obviously the goal is zero but we’re working our way there,” he said. “The trend is going in the right direction of less and less.”
He said most children arriving to schools on buses are wearing masks.
“So, everything from herd immunity to vaccines and folks wearing masks and stuff like that, it seems to be going in the direction that is desirable.”
Chairwoman Stephanie Busin asked for the number of students quarantined by the DOH to date and if it was possible for quarantined students testing negative with PCR tests returning to the classroom before the end of the quarantine period.
Swindle said “very few to none” had been allowed back before the quarantine ended, the reason being the timing and availability of the test.
However, PDR tests have been ordered and are expected to arrive soon. When that happens, staff will set up for quarantined students to be tested by a DOH nurse at the district. Parents can bring their child to the test center to see if they can go to class that day.
“So, we’re going to try to shorten that period of time that they are out,” he said.
Board member Jon Basquin was concerned over possible miscommunication about the length of quarantine.
“Some [schools] say 10 days out of school and you still have to come back with a negative test,” he said. “Some say after 10 days they can come back.”
Swindle said the schools should all be following the DOH’s directives and would look into it.
On another topic, board member Paul Samerdyke said he’d heard from the community the morning school district meetings may be interfering with their daily schedules, such as work and childcare.
HCSD holds 9 a.m. meetings in LaBelle once monthly and 5:30 p.m. meetings once monthly in Clewiston.
“I really think people need to see that with our morning meetings we don’t want to take people out of work at this time or away from their children where they need to be,” he said.
Busin and Basquin said they had not heard many complaints about the morning meetings, however Busin mentioned she wanted to know where the district was in its strategic plan and a breakdown of plans for spending federal covid money, among other things.
Swindle said the strategic plan team is still working with the contractor and there is a meeting planned next week. The plan will be presented to the board and there may be a special meeting to do it.
“We plan to have that completed this fall,” he said.
Swindle updated the board on the ESSER monies that were anticipated but not included in the 2021-2022 budget.
“We have received the first round of funding in ESSER,” he said. “ESSER II dollars are rolling in now. They broke it down into four pots we got three of the four pots of money and were waiting for the fourth one any day. And ESSER III, we’ve been told we should be getting the grant application any day now as well.”