PRC School Board swears in new member, tackles routine business

Published 2:38 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The newest member of the Pearl River County School District’s Board of Trustees was sworn in during this month’s meeting. Afterward, the Board heard about construction updates and information concerning COVID 19 cases.

Eli Ouder, who ran unopposed in the most recent election held in Nov. 2021, was sworn in as the Board’s representative for District V during the meeting held on Jan. 13. He replaces outgoing Board member Elaine Voss, who did not run for re-election.

The Board also heard from Superintendent Alan Lumpkin concerning the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in students and staff. He compared the recent increase in cases to the rise in cases seen during the start of the school year back in Aug. 2021 that led to many classes being moved to virtual.

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During that first week of school there were108 students and 27 staff who tested positive for the virus, leading to 547 students and 21 employees being quarantined due to possible exposure. This recent case increase occurred during the first week back from the holiday break, or from Jan. 1, to Jan. 13. Lumpkin said those numbers reflect that 47 students and 18 employees tested positive in that time. That led to 98 students and 10 employees needing to be quarantined due to potential exposure to the virus. Lumpkin advised the Board that those numbers may change as the month goes on.

District Finance Director TJ Burelson also provided the Board with an update to the ongoing project to build a new auditorium at the Carriere campus. He said crews are now working on the interior of the building, including installing dry wall.

A planned solar project near the Carriere campus cafeteria is expected to be complete by the end of this month, and work to improve the facade on that structure and the multipurpose building is nearly complete, with only minor painting left.

Drainage work at the district’s baseball and softball fields has been completed and most of the sidewalks have also been finished at those facilities.

An HVAC project to install ionization equipment at all facilities in the district approved back in November started on Jan. 24. Burleson said all work on that project will take place after hours and will include installation of air purifiers on those systems. He expects that project to be complete in the next few weeks.

In other news, Lumpkin said he is excited to announce the House and Senate for the state of Mississippi approved a $1,000 raise for all teachers. Lumpkin said the raise is essential to help with employee retention and he commended Representative Jansen Owen, State Senator Angela Hill and Representative Stacey Wilkes for their support in that legislation.