Vilonia School Board

Superintendent David Stephens updates the Vilonia School Board on Monday night on the district’s coronavirus response plan for the 2020-21 school year.

About 18 percent of Vilonia Public Schools students have selected the virtual learning option while the remaining 2,472 will attend on-campus instruction as the 2020-21 academic year begins Aug. 24.

The district has obtained 125 hotspot wireless devices to help provide internet services to students who have little to no internet access at home, assistant superintendent Cathy Riggins announced during the district’s school board meeting Monday night.

The hotspot devices were purchased with state relief funds and will be provided to students of economically-challenged families while learning remotely from home. Google Chromebooks will also be available to all students in the event the school is forced to close campus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All students K-12 will be required to wear facemasks on campus and when on the bus when social distancing of 6 feet is not possible. The district now has disinfectant foggers that it will use in all classrooms daily to combat spreading COVID-19 within the schools.

Vilonia Athletic Director Nick Newman said the athletics department will also disinfect it’s equipment daily. All indoor athletes are required to wear masks and those who plan to attend games will also be required to wear facemasks and adhere to social-distancing guidelines.

“It’s an adjustment, but we’re making it and doing good,” he said during Monday’s school board meeting.

Superintendent David Stephens said the district currently has two assigned points of contact (POC).

Should the two POCs become overwhelmed, the district is prepared to appoint two additional POCs, Stephens said.

A POC is responsible for contacting the Arkansas Department of Health when a student or staff member tests positive for the coronavirus.

“This person will work with other school personnel to identify probable close contacts within the district and share information with and be the liaison between the school district and ADH. This person must be accessible after hours and weekends,” according to the Arkansas coronavirus response levels guide.

Stephens said coach John Sweeney and educator Scott Willhite will alternate being on call each day. A POC will be on call 24/7.

Anyone who was around a student or faculty member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine and participate in virtual learning for 14 days unless the ADH determines through it’s own investigation that they are not considered a close contact. Students and staff will be considered a probable close contact if they were within 6 feet of someone who later tests positive for 15 cumulative minutes or longer within a 24-hour period of the person who tested positive.

In other business, the Vilonia School Board unanimously voted to increase adult meal prices to $3.85 (a $0.10 increase) and approved each school’s 2020-21 improvement plan goals. The school board also approved 13 student transfers. Six of those transfers are coming to the Vilonia School District while the other seven students are transferring to other districts.

The school board also unanimously approved a $31,992 bid for improvements to the bus lot.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net

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