Superintendent Jeannie Stone said the weekly updates will be made available on the district website beginning Oct. 11. No action was taken on the district’s ongoing mask mandate or its health and safety protocols following a more than two-hour COVID-19 update during the board’s Oct. 4 meeting.
During an emergency meeting Sept. 3, trustees said district guidelines would be revisited no later than Oct. 4. During that meeting, the board voted unanimously to support the superintendent’s COVID-19 mitigation plan following the decision to close RISD’s Brentfield Elementary School in Dallas for 10 days.
Since then, the district’s COVID-19 outlook has improved, RISD Director of Health Services Ashley Jones said during the Oct. 4 meeting.
“With vaccines being so close [for children under age 12] and the Delta variant seeming like it’s run its course, it is looking hopeful,” she said.
Near the beginning of the meeting, Stone led a moment of silence for a district student and teacher who she said both died last week from complications related to COVID-19. Stone said Sha’Niyah McGee was a junior at Berkner High, while the teacher was Eroletta Piasczyk, the Social Studies Department chair at Christa McAuliffe Learning Center.
Trustees were also shown a draft version of the district’s Guidance for Implementing COVID-19 Prevention Strategies metric. That document is being put together by district staff based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This is [the CDC’s] first direction to provide us with what we all have wanted, which is to have some type of a matrix to be able to make a decision [on health and safety protocols],” Sttone said. “This is recommended that all organizations use these five areas. ... We're open to your feedback about how we can improve this rubric.”
Trustees asked for a number of revisions to the document, including additional information on vaccination coverage and the at-risk population.
“At some point we have to start looking at how can we remove some of these layers [of protection],” board member Megan Timme said. “Everybody wants to see that light at the end of the tunnel and I feel like the data is pointing that way, at least for a percentage of our population.”
The trustees plan to continue monitoring the pandemic and will revisit district guidelines at a future meeting.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the name of the Berkner High School student who Superintendent Jeannie Stone said died from complications related to COVID-19.