The Greene County School Board approved bids Thursday evening for desk shields, air purifiers and a school bus.

Director of Schools David McLain told the board in January that the district planned to purchase 2,000 plastic desk shields, which fold for storage and unfold to sit upright on a desk, and enough air purifiers for each HVAC unit.

The cost of both COVID-19 safety-related purchases is to be taken from the district’s unassigned fund balance and reimbursed with CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) 2.0 funds.

For the desk shields, the district accepted a bid from Promo Market at $23.63 each, and the combined cost of the air purifiers and installation comes to $361,548. The district will purchase the units from Johnson City-based Hoffman & Hoffman, and Air Pro Heating and Cooling of Greeneville will install them.

McLain shared in his report to the board that last week, the district had only five COVID-19 cases, representing the lowest case count since the start of the 2020-21 school year.

He also noted that the district is being given funding from the state for summer camps to address pandemic-related learning loss in the amounts of $510,140 for kindergarten through fifth grade and $165,178 at the middle school level.

McLain also discussed funding for teacher raises.

He said the district has been notified it will receive $252,500 from the state for raises for certified teachers funded through state Basic Education Program (BEP) funds, but not all of the teaching positions in the district are funded through the BEP, so the district plans to use ESSER 2.0 funds to provide a stipend to all staff.

“We also plan on taking funds from the CARES Act or ESSER 2.0 to pay stipends to all employees of our school system that have been asked to do extra duties this year, COVID-related, which equates to everyone in our district,” McLain said.

He also noted the district’s enrollment numbers, or Average Daily Membership (ADM), which BEP funding is calculated based on, are down.

“Right now we stand at about 5,850, and that’s down about 280 from last year,” McLain said.

The board also approved a 2022-23 school calendar, a revision to the 2021-22 school calendar to move a professional development day from March to May 2022, and a revised job description for a new position, Technology Support Teacher. The position was created in August on a temporary basis, but the role will now be in place for the foreseeable future.

The board also heard from Butch Patterson of the Greeneville Parks & Recreation department about allowing the use of school facilities for sports tournaments.

He said some touring groups that have come to Greene County and used Greeneville Parks & Recreation facilities have needed additional space or facilities. He said schools in Washington, Sullivan and Hawkins counties have a relationship to allow the use of their facilities at a cost, which then contributes to the schools’ athletic programs.

The next meeting of the Greene County Board of Education is scheduled for March 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the James W. Parham Central Office Complex.

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