Picayune School District teachers mandated to attend two extra days

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 8, 2018

Snowfall and freezing weather in the month of January led to the closure of Picayune schools for two days, of which staff will now be required to make up or use time off to compensate.

The decision came during Tuesday’s Picayune School District Board of Trustees meeting. Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said the meeting was moved from its regular meeting date of the second Tuesday of the month due to the upcoming Mardi Gras holiday.

With the decision, all District employees will be required to make up the missing two days the Wednesday after Mardi Gras, Feb. 14, and the Saturday of that week, Feb. 17. Harrell said that staff have the alternative option to use personal days or sick time to make up the missed time, but are not required to choose that option.

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Harrell said that the Board was required to insist the staff make up those days because there was not a previously established policy stating that missed days were not required to be made up in instances of a declared emergency. However, the Board did approve a motion to add that stipulation to the District policy during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Nobody is happy about it, including me,” Harrell said.

Students will not be required to make up the missed days.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the Board heard some information pertaining to the establishment of an ACT prep course at the Picayune Memorial High School. Harrell said this is the first year the elective has been offered and is available to juniors attending the school.

The Board also received bids to replace air conditioning units at South Side Lower Elementary. Harrell said about five bids were submitted and reviewed during Tuesday’s meeting. The Board elected to take them under advisement until the next meeting in March.

In relation to the District’s choking protocol, Harrell said the Board approved a motion to establish a policy that if a student is choking, staff should attempt the Hiemlich maneuver first, and if that does not work they can then use the LifeVac devices donated to the District earlier in the year. In cases where the child cannot receive the Hiemlich maneuver, which would be established via information provided by the parents such as in instances where the child is handicapped, then the staff could use the LifeVac device instead of the Hiemlich maneuver.

The next meeting of the Board will March 13 at noon.