School Board GXX

DANVILLE, Va. — Danville School Board held its meeting on Thursday to discuss attendance before approving several measures.

At the start of the meeting, the board approved School Bus Safety Week for Oct. 18-22 with a 7-0 vote.

The board then made October 2021 Bullying Prevention Month. Charles McWilliams read the proclamation, stating over 20 percent of youth in the United States are estimated to be involved in bullying each year as a victim or instigator. It was also said 160,000 K-12 students miss school every day due to fear of being bullied.

Dr. Wayne Lyle and Dr. Marva Tutt delivered their remarks on attendance. They outlined the differences between truancy and chronic absenteeism. They delivered an increase of student enrollment in DPS from September 2019 (5,414) to September 2021 (5,737) by 323. Tutt outlined steps in case of attendance and truancy issues. Attendance Interventions of five days include: assigning mentors, mental health referrals, check-in process, behavior specialist, etc. If it reaches seven to ten days, the same procedures apply, but adding family counseling, use of law enforcement for truancy and if a student reaches ten days, they’ll be reported for suspension of driver’s license.

Truancy procedures for five days of unexcused absences include: parent conference, principal will develop an attendance plan, another unexcused absence will trigger another conference, attendance plans will be kept in the Performance Matters Platform and parents must sign the plan and acknowledge they have a copy of the DPS attendance protocols.

Seven to ten days will prompt the principal to schedule conference with the Truancy Response Team (TRT) and the parent. These conferences will include: principal, guidance counselor, attendance officer, social worker and community agencies. The Student Report Services will follow up daily using the 10+ unexcused report from PowerSchool.

These are school level. District level is different. 11-15 days include a pre-court contact (call, meeting) scheduled by Student Support Services (district attendance officer). 16+ days will prompt a district attendance officer to file a complaint with the court alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision.

Tutt stayed at the podium to deliver an update on COVID-19 protocols that included mitigation strategies and vaccination updates. Some mitigation strategies include: staff, students and visitors wear masks, three to six feet of distance, desk/face and cafeteria shields have been installed, frequent hand sanitizing, contact tracing and hygienic machines that will be used to sanitize the schools daily.

Every week, information will be communicated to DPS stakeholders about clinics available through Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Gretna, Averett University and others.

For athletes, voluntary testing will be available twice weekly through United Mobile Health, LLC., and testing will become mandatory for winter sports.

The VDH launched diagnostic test kits that will be sent home with those who are exposed or have symptoms. Telemedicine employees will “walk” the family through and results are returned within 15 minutes.

As of Thursday, 781 students and 55 percent of adults in DPS have been vaccinated and 60 percent of adults in Danville City have been vaccinated. Tutt added Pfizer approval for children ages five through 11 could come in the first couple weeks of October.

After that, came recommendations. First, was a Recommendation for Teacher and Instructional Resource Services (RFP-2022-481). It passed was a 7-0 vote.

Next was a Recommendation for the Provision of Security Services at George Washington High School (RFP-2022-484), passing with a 7-0 vote.

Next was a Recommendation for the Provision of Designing, Supplying and Installing Bi-Polar Ionization Units (RFP-2021-477). That was passed with another 7-0 vote.

After that was a Recommendation for the Provision of Information Technology Help Desk Extension (RFP-2022-483). That was passed with another 7-0 vote.

Sharon Barksdale presented accounts payable warrants to be approved. Another 7-0 vote was the result.

Up next was a Recommendation for the Provision of Professional Development in Literacy Instruction (REF-2021-482). Another 7-0 vote.

Lastly was a Gifted Education Program approval presented by Kimberly Agnor. Another 7-0 vote.

No board member had public comments and meeting was subsequently adjourned.

Staff Writer

Zach McKnight joined the Star-Tribune from Wadsworth, Ohio, as a staff writer. Zach earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

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