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Caddo Hills students, staff to wear masks through September 10

DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY/dewayne@mcnews.online
Due to an increase in COVID-19 related absences, the Caddo Hills School Board approved a recommendation by Superintendent Deric Owens to institute a mask mandate for all students through September 10.
The mask mandate was the first of several items on the agenda for the special called meeting Monday night. The resolution that was approved by the board members cited a trend that reflects a need for the mask mandate to help curb the spread of the virus on campus.
The resolution states that up to August 24 of this year COVID absences had went from Four cases and 18 quarantined to 16 cases and 122 quarantined. As a result of this increase Superintendent Owens initiated a mask mandate August 25.
COVID related absences continued to climb with 24 cases reported and 176 quarantined by August 27. The resolution indicated that there were signs of an increase in cases, but decrease in quarantines up to August 30.
The mask mandate will remain in place until September 10 at which time a need to extend the mask mandate will be evaluated. The resolution does give the Superintendent authority to extend the mandate if date supports such a decision.
There was no discussion regarding the resolution and it passed unanimously.
The board adopted a resolution approving a digital learning plan for grades Kindergarten through 6th Grade.
The resolution stated that plans for a digital learning plan were not made in the Spring as a need for one wasn’t deemed necessary due to low COVID-19 numbers. However, with a rise in cases over the Summer and the fact that children under the age of 12 can’t be vaccinated, it was determined a digital learning plan was needed.
The board adopted a resolution that will divide the school district into five single member zones per A.C.A. 6-13-631.
Currently all five board members fill at-large positions. Under A.C.A. 6-13-631 any school district which exceeds a 10 percent minority population must be governed by a board comprised of zone positions.
Superintendent Owens explained that EFS Geo Technologies will be used to lay out the zones. His plan is to have five zones with a five year rotation for board members. The zones have to be drawn by the end of the year to comply with voting regulations.
In other business:
The board adopted a resolution approving the Annual Equity Compliance Report for Cycle Two Submission.
The board adopted a statement of assurances for ESEA and ESSA for the 2021-22 school year.
The board adopted a resolution approving the annual financial report for the 2020-21 school year and the budget for the 2021-22 school year.
The board accepted the resignation of Jim Hemund.
The board voted to hire Elizabeth Jackson as a paraprofessional for the elementary campus.

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