By: 1812Blockhouse Staff
It may have been on the agenda for discussion and a first reading only, but the proposed COVID-19 2020 Preparedness and Response Coordinator position for Mansfield City Schools was discussed at some length during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Mansfield City Schools Board of Education.
The matter came up quickly with the first shared public comment near the start of the meeting, which came in the form of a question from Katie Ellington. In response, Superintendent Stan Jefferson shared details of the proposed position.
The Coordinator, Jefferson said, would be involved in numerous aspects of District operations involving cleaning, testing, temperature checks, contract tracing, and social distancing. Every building, bus, and food service operation will be involved.
Hiring internally or not is not the key question, he continued, rather the issue is having someone to be responsible for this large task during the District’s restarting and reopening this fall. Both the community and also District employees will be concerned with safety and health in academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities, and meshing those activities with federal and state health guidelines.
The Superintendent emphasized that the matter was coming up for discussion, not for an immediate decision.
Later in the meeting, Jefferson responded to Board member questions on the proposed position and job prescription, sharing the following:
CARES Act funding will be available for a multitude of items, including paying for this position. No General Fund money would be involved. The amount of CARES money the District will receive is unknown at this time and will not be available until sometime after July 1, but when received it can be backdated to March when buildings were ordered closed by the State of Ohio.
The position would be temporary, but will extend as long as COVID-19 causes changes in the way that Mansfield City Schools students learn. CARES money can be spent over a three year period.
One person needs to be in this position, Jefferson shared, as opposed to divvying up the work among many or giving added duties to teachers. The ideal Coordinator will have a background in some aspect of the health industry, compliance monitoring, and be able to work with HR departments, nurses, operations staff, and food services personnel.
One Board member asked if one person could actually perform all of these duties. “A good question,” Jefferson confirmed, adding that “This will be a very huge job.” Dividing the task, he added, will risk having something getting lost in the process.