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School Board establishes plan for mobile hotspots

The Poplarville School District has a plan for expanding Internet access to provide distance learning in its district should schools experience closures during the semester: five school buses equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots parked strategically across the district.

The Poplarville School Board approved paying for the data plans for the devices at its regular Board meeting Monday, and previously approved purchasing the devices earlier in the summer.

The cost of the five devices and the data plans is approximately $5,000, said Technology Coordinator Jill Melton. The devices are being purchased from CDWG while the data plans are with Kajeet, the company that manufactures the devices.

In a separate matter, the Board approved the emergency purchase of 20 hand sanitizer dispensers with stands. The majority of items the school district has needed to purchase due to COVID-19 have not needed approval as emergency purchase items, said CFO Samantha Sandifer, but since the hand sanitizer dispensers cost more than $5,000, the purchase needed Board approval. The district was not able to find comparison prices for the item, because it was only able to find one vendor offering hand sanitizers with stands over the course of the summer, she said.

The majority of hand sanitizer dispensers in schools are installed on classroom walls, but the ones with stands are needed for locations such as lunch lines, said Sandifer.

In other business the Board:

—Approved recommendations for substitute nurses. Superintendent Konya Miller said the district has not had substitute nurses in previous years, but since there are now nurses on all four campuses and there is a higher need for school nurses this year, substitutes are necessary.

The next Board meeting will be a special called meeting on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Central Office board room. It will be held to ensure the Board can apply for technology funding from the Legislature before the deadline.