The Hopkins County Board of Education made the decision to continue with non-traditional instruction until Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 when students are scheduled to return from Christmas Break.

As of Friday, there were 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the school system and 134 combined faculty and students in quarantine.

Dr. Deanna Ashby, superintendent of Hopkins County Schools, said the numbers are getting worse.

“Today at one school I had an entire cafeteria staff out,” said Ashby. “Then while I’ve been sitting here we had a central office person test positive.”

April Devine, director of pupil personnel, added that as quick as they get students off their list because their time in quarantine is over, they are adding more names to it.

The board also made a decision to require masks for all winter sports practicing inside but will not require masks if they are conditioning outside. The decision concerns basketball, cheer and dance.

As for swimming, masks will be required by coaches and swimmers when they are not in the pool.

“This is winter sports only,” said Ashby. “Hopkins County Central football is still a go for the playoffs.”

During the meeting, the board heard from Justin McElfresh and Andrew Owens, architects from Sherman, Carter, Barnhart Architects, the company who has the Hanson Elementary School contract, on the six contract bids for the school.

McElfresh and Owens told the board that of the six bids, all were at least 22% over the budgeted amount. He said they spent time talking to the lowest bid contractors to determine where their estimates may have been wrong and found that site costs and structural costs were the top two issues.

“I am optimistic that we can make a considerable dent in this cost difference,” said McElfresh.

He told the board once the firm and board determines where costs can be reduced they will send a post-bid addendum around Nov. 30 to the two or three lowest bid companies instead of resubmitting the entire contract for bid again.

In other news from Monday’s meeting, the school board:

approved invoice payments to Sherman, Carter, Barnhart Architects in the amount of $34,979.77 and to Ronald Johnson and Associates in the amount of $2,504 for the new Hanson Elementary School. An invoice payment to Downey Construction for $80,487.90 for the Browning Springs Middle School fieldhouse and bus driver training center also was ap

  • proved.
  • presented Jackson Watts, a senior at Madisonville North Hopkins High School, with the #LionChaser/#GiantSlayer Award for his Class 3A State Cross Country Championship win.
  • approved three grants for South Hopkins Middle School; an Educators/National Geographic Society Grant for $8,000, Educators of America Microgrant for $5,000 and a grant to fund a weather project for $3,000.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hopkins County Career and Technology Center.

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