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Vidalia City Board of Education Extends COVID Leave Benefit

Sick leave related to COVID-19 has been extended for employees of the Vidalia City School System. The City School Board approved the measure at its regular monthly meeting on January 12.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired at the end of December; however, the Board considers its use of CARES funding to extend the sick leave benefit to be well placed. The benefit will provide 10 days of COVID-related, paid leave as needed to employees through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox said, 'Even though the federal government has discontinued the COVID leave time, we felt it was fair to allow our employees, who have not used this time, to still have access to the leave time, if needed, through the rest of the school year, as we continue to combat this virus.' Additional CARES funds will be allocated to the school system in 2021. There are restrictions on the use of these funds, but the Board will consider adding extended school days or summer sessions for students who would like supplemental instruction focused on literacy. Also, CARES funds may be used for upgrades in technology that are due in some areas of the system.

Communications Director John Koon issued a press release regarding the Board’s approval of the 2021/22 school year calendar. The calendar includes 176 days of instruction that will begin on August 6, 2021 and end on May 25, 2022.

The calendar also includes a five-day break during Thanksgiving and a 12-day break during the Christmas holidays. Spring break will take place April 4-8, 2022.

To view the 2001-2022 school year calendar, visit: www.vidaliacityschools. org.

The Board approved the repair of tennis court surfaces at the high school and at the middle school for a total of $45,000. The work will be done by an eco-sustainable contractor who has worked on the school courts in the past. SPLOST funds will be used for this project.

Assistant Superintendent Ginger Morris and Technology Director Sabrina Wiggs reported on the system’s use of Go Guardian that has allowed teachers to see what students are doing online during in-classroom and virtual instruction. The purpose of Go Guardian is to protect the student from inappropriate content online.

The program has been purchased for teachers in grades K – 12, with the roll out of use starting at J.R. Trippe Middle School. Training for all personnel will be ongoing, but the program is user friendly.

Wiggs reported that over 540 students have benefitted from the use of this program. “The teachers are saying it’s wonderful. Dr. Reid at Trippe said that they have gained instructional time because teachers can keep the kids on task. A Special Education teacher said it is helping her to be able to freeze a screen and see where the students need assistance.”

Morris thanked the board, saying, “All the principals agreed that Go Guardian is one of the best purchases that you have made for them.”

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