During the Leon County School Board meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, the Board heard from Chief John Hunkiar regarding the Safe School Assessment. In addition, he gave a brief update on some of the steps LCS takes to protect students on campus.
He stated every school property is geo-fenced, there are security stations on some campuses linked to mass notification systems and school radio systems. Recently, two School Safety Analysts were brought on to monitor data and information that comes into the security office. They have evaluated over 3000 inquiries and, from these, investigated 276 suicide risks and 106 behavioral risks.
Some new implementations are upgrading the radio systems, providing better camera coverage in the stadiums, and enhancing visitor management systems.
According to Vice-Chair Darryl Jones, he has received feedback from principals from several schools, and they have reported an uptick in suspensions and expulsions.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alan Cox discussed updated COVID-19 data during the meeting. He stated approximately 8 out of every 10 LCS employees are vaccinated. Also, in the last eight days, the average number of positive cases is down to about five students a day.
Dr. Cox’s recommendations to the Board include:
• There should be no changes in the current quarantine protocol.
• A change in the current medical op-out option for masks to a parent opt-out option for grades K-8.
• Also, open campuses for volunteers/mentors and reinstate field trips but follow social distancing and mask guidelines.
The Board voted 3-1 to accept a parent opt-out option for grades K-8.
Board Member Alva Striplin encouraged Hanna to withdraw the lawsuit against the state. She also recommended halting the opening of campuses and not to allowing visitors back on campus just yet. However, she does support the changes to the mask options for parents.
Striplin then made two motions which failed due to a lack of support. The motions were to direct the superintendent to draft a letter stating the LCSB is in compliance with the state orders. Also, to have Hanna withdraw the lawsuit.
The Board approved the negotiation with the architectural firm of MLD Architects, LLC the highest ranked firm, for Griffin Middle School Remodeling and Renovations to building 15 and Associated Spaces Project.
The Board also approved the negotiation with the architectural firm of Hoy+Stark Architects, P.A. for the Hartsfield Elementary School, building 2 Cafeteria Replacement Project.
The Board approved the HoyStark Architects, P.A., to provide professional services at Rickards High School Phase V, in the amount of $34,202.00. Services include architectural and engineering services to reroof of the existing buildings 13, 18, and 19.
The Board also approved the demolition and removal of 20 portable buildings at PACE Secondary School. The bid was awarded to Demco Environmental, LLC, which submitted the lowest bid in the amount of $68,500.