Chilton Board of Education member David Bailey briefed fellow board members about the budget update he received during the Finance Committee meeting held just prior to the full board meeting Monday evening.

He said roughly $110,000 has been used for COVID expenses on unbudgeted items so far this year, and the committee discussed extending the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) for the rest of the school year.

District Business Manager Samantha Woelfel said the FFCRA is set to expire Dec. 31. She said 51 employees in the District have used the FFCRA for the days they have been out because of COVID-19. Superintendent Sue Kaphingst explained the Finance Committee’s request would extend FFCRA benefits to employees who have not used them yet. The board approved the recommendation to extend the time that FFCRA benefits can be used until the end of the 2020-’21 school year.

Kevin Behnke of Hawkins Ash CPAs provided the board with a brief overview of the district’s 2019-’20 financial audit. He noted improvements in several areas of the bookkeeping, including a reduction in the number of adjusted journal entries and material audit adjustments when compared with last year’s audit.

Kaphingst let board members know that, at the time of the meeting, among the staff there were no positive COVID-19 cases, one person in quarantine and 20 resolved cases, and for the students there was one positive case, 35 individuals in quarantine and 58 resolved cases.

Kaphingst also addressed the new CDC guidelines which state that people exposed to COVID-19 who are asymptomatic can quarantine for 10 days instead of 14, and for seven days if they receive a negative test result. Kaphingst said the 10 days of quarantine would work with middle and high school students, who could return to school as long as they are not taking any medications that make them appear better, but she did not feel the elementary school students would be as good at social distancing.

Kaphingst said that athletes can return to school after 10 days of quarantine if they have no symptoms, but they will need to wait an additional four days before they can resume practice with their teams. She said if positive cases start to go up, they would re-evaluate this policy.

In addition, Kaphingst said after the holidays they plan to re-open lap swimming in the pool from 5:30 to 7 a.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, noting people will have to sign up ahead of time, masks still will be needed while not in the pool, and there will be no access to locker rooms. She said interested lap swimmers should use Sign Up Genius on the school website, which can be found under “Latest Postings, Aquatics Center 2021.”

(For more Chilton School Board news, please see the Dec. 31 issue of the Tri-County News.)

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