Wake school board work session, Oct. 19, 2021
The Wake County Board of Education will discuss plans to begin COVID-19 testing inside public schools as soon as next month in their work session on Oct. 19, 2021.
this one's on Good afternoon and welcome to uh, work session of the way kind of board of education. I apologize for getting started a little late and we had a very robust and important discussion in our work session, uh, about how we're continuing to spend our pandemic curry funds and also looking at how ways that we can support our staff and employees and look at further opportunities for increases and that sort of thing. So we apologized for getting a little bit started a little late. Nevertheless, you've got to significant items on our agenda, uh, not a lot of time. So we're gonna leave it behind. So let's try to push through these very quickly. We've got a uh, testing program update regarding voluntary testing of over 19 and then a discussion on a year round school. So I turned over the superintendent more and push us off and let's get started. Morning chair sitting in board members. Our first item today will be an update from paul co on where we are with uh, the plan we presented to the board to begin voluntary testing in our schools and some of the and the runway that we're building for the anticipated by the administration's application of the OSHA guidance for staff in schools. So I'll turn it over to paul co said And Superintendent more on board members. I'm here today to present an update regarding our plans for implementing voluntary Covid testing program in our district and I'll wait for the presentation to come up on the screen. And so, uh, if we could start on slide two. So as you see in this slide, we're proposing a phased approach to build the runway that that will lead us to a successful and sustainable testing program. And as we develop this plan, we relied on information from our conversations with our testing vendor Mako Medical, as well as best practices from other district who have already implemented voluntary testing programs. You can go to the next slide and so this slide outlines phase one of our voluntary testing program. As part of this phase, we are in the process of establishing an M away with MAKO Medical. Our attorneys are working together to create a finalized M. O. A. That we will bring to the board for approval. And in this phase we're targeting schools with active or potential clusters and make a medical, will work with our school site context to sign up, students and staff are voluntary testing at school sites and we just want to note that this testing option will be open to employees and students who are vaccinated as well. And during this phase, school teams will partner with Medical Medical to set up the testing process and will receive training regarding confidentiality and reporting. And also during this phase we will identify specific locations for testing. Central services employees, uh, and the next central services employee contacts at these specific locations. Will partner with Michael Medical staff to set up voluntary testing at these locations And at this time we anticipate that Phase one will begin by early November. And as part of Phase two, voluntary testing will then be open to students and staff in all schools. Now we're going to continue to partner our school teams with the Mako medical staff to set up the testing process and ensure school staff received training regarding confidentiality and reporting. And I want to pause here to clarify that MaKO medical staff, not WC PSS employees will be testing our students And we plan to launch Phase two on a rolling basis to ensure we're taking the time to set up the procedures properly. And the timeline for the Phase two implementation is between late November and early January and for phase three this is a staff focused um phase and it's directly related to the federal requirements regarding mandatory vaccinations for employees. And as part of phase three we will need to develop a process for requesting proof of vaccination from all employees, which is something we have already started and develop a schedule for weekly mandatory testing of unvaccinated employees. And on this slide, you see that our timeline for this phase was january 2022. However, since then we've learned that OSHA has submitted the emergency temporary standard E. T. S to the White House Office of Budget and management last week. So we're going to be monitoring this with our attorneys so that we're clear about the implementation implementation timelines once the E T S goes to the states. And in terms of our our next steps as we move forward in each of these phases for voluntary COVID-19 testing program. In summary, we're gonna be working on the following items, completing them away with make a medical and bringing it to all of you for approval, preparing our voluntary testing in schools with active or potential clusters, determining central services, voluntary testing locations. We will communicate voluntary testing plans with families and staff and we're going to continue to collaborate with Wake County Health and Human Services about vaccine. Rollout for the upcoming roll out for 5 to 11 year olds. Um we're going to continue to communicate with families about vaccine availability and access to vaccine locations for 12 to 17 year olds. And we'll continue our preparations for the federal testing mandate. So what that update will now pause here for any questions or discussion. Doctor Martin. Thank you. My first question is how Well, I think, I guess we know how you define the active cluster. Active cluster is defined by whatever uh, the health Department declares, but those are have to reach a pretty high threshold before it's declared inactive cluster. How do you define a potential cluster? I think maybe we're seeing that as the schools that have high high case rates and that maybe are at risk on average of having more exposures than the average and use that to be selecting the schools that we think would benefit from testing so we can be preventative instead of just reactive. So that's where I guess we just have to acknowledge that you know what is high? It strikes me Emmy, We say five cases defines a cluster. If we can show the linkage, are we going to say that five cases that where a linkage hasn't been proven, Defines High? Are we looking everything over 3? We're not we don't we don't have high as in big numbers necessarily ever. I think the The one or 2 cases in a week in the school is kind of what you'd expect given the case rate in the community. But so that that's just really how are we going to decide? And and really I guess maybe it's, how many sites do we anticipate initiating and then do we distribute in some kind of a method and if selected, how long will they be there? Right, because if I got five in this school this week and none the next week, where do I need to go? So, threshold and flexible ability. two sites, I guess all my questions. Alright, so dr martin, I'm just gonna have one additional piece in addition to looking at the number of cases that you may have in a school where you may not have an epidemiological link that you have established, but there are numerous cases that one sort of method but there we also begin to watch cases in schools when we know we have two or three that might have an epidemiological link, but it's not yet declared a cluster. So we're paying attention to those so that maybe someplace else that we may want to take a look at it, I think it's multifaceted and kind of depends on what's going on also in the community in terms of how that standard gets established in schools. Um but I I understand your question and it's one that we're wrestling with as well as we figure out not just um, how we want to prioritize but with the capacity of MECO is as well. Uh huh. Well, do you see that as once assigned to school, it stays for a two week period at a minimum. Are are we don't here for a week and then we shift you somewhere else. What sort of the I think what we're trying to do is starting with the schools that maybe have the highest need to start right to make sure that we're rolling out this process properly. And then once those procedures are set up on a weekly basis, we expect that make a will continue to be there on a weekly basis to continue to do the voluntary testing. But once we move into Phase two, we're trying to make sure we're setting up across all of our schools regardless of the case numbers or potential cluster risk or active cluster risk to make sure that ultimately in the end, by the time we get to face three, every single school has availability of voluntary testing available to students and staff who opt in and then same thing with the central services location so that it's available across our system. But we're trying to do it in this metered approach so that and we're starting with the place that seems to have, where we think the highest needs are to be preventative and we're starting there and working with make it's actually make sure that we're setting things up and almost piloting the initial phase so that we can learn from any mistakes or bumps in the road that we see and then working on how that will look across all schools. So I think I'm hearing almost more of the initial will be a launch and the site will likely stay there. It won't probably be there for a couple weeks then shift somewhere else because by the time it might go somewhere else we should be on to phase two where we should have it in every school. Yes sir. Okay, I'm then the second question is particularly during the initial phase, will the testing be available only for the people in that school or I'm, Will this two degree be a voluntary site, somewhat like the other way county sites have been where people from if the testing is at school A but somebody at school b needs to get a test, can they go to school A or is it gonna be I think right now how we've discussed it with my co it's it's for students and the staff that are designated at that school and I think we're trying not to have variations because then it might get harder to track school by school what's going on. So I think we would but if we have Ultimately at the end 194 locations plus 20 something central office locations, we're hoping that that alone creates a lot of availability for people to do the voluntary testing. Should they opt in Sure. Once we get to that point. No question. My question was really for the earlier stages. Yes. So right now I think we're looking at just that those folks will be designated to that school site for the voluntary testing and we're not I think we're not trying to set it up so that one person can go to potentially multiple e like five different sites because I think that making sure that the reporting is accurate school by school is important I think as well in this process. Thank. That's why I'm happy. Thank you. Chair Sutton and thank you. Mr cho um just a couple questions. We're talking about the rapid antigen testing. Not the pcR testing, correct. This will be the pcR molecular tests that make oh medical does. So this could help with students who are looking to shorten a quarantine as well as helping with employees who are not vaccinated but need to do mandatory testing when the federal mandate comes. Well right now we're setting up pooled testing on a voluntary basis. So it's not the diagnostic that you're talking about. So it would be a pool testing where essentially the processes like whoever the voluntary pool for a school is, they would do the pooled testing and if there's a positive in that pool and those folks would have to be followed up with to then be tested individually to confirm or any folks in this group positive or not. And once that happens, we would make sure that those folks are, you know, are quarantining with the right guidance as well. Thank you for stepping back and explaining that. My question is as that pool testing becomes optional. We know for our students. When we say voluntary testing, it's it's opt in for students. How is that going to be communicated to parents that this particular school we're going to be doing pooled testing. Here's how you opt in. So that will be part of the communication strategies that we're working on with our communications team. We're taking, for example, a template from Durham public schools and what they've sent out in communication to families. And so we would inform families ahead of time, but also work with the school on setting up processes and procedures of families who want to opt in making sure it's were explicit about here's how you opt in here the consent forms you need to sign and how to set up all the accounts so that people can digitally check what the results may be because Marco does have a an online portal for people to check their individual results. Okay. So most of it will be digitized. So the burden on Wake county staff to share that information will be less than if they're having to check everyone's papers and make sure you are filled out properly. Our hope is that Miss Mahaffy and there's still some how does the reporting work between may go to school to us and health department. Those are some things that we're working out through communication amongst with all the involved parties. But that is something that we are trying to make sure to be explicit about so that we don't run into a scenario where there might be potentially double reporting where like if Michael reports to the health department and the school but we don't talk to each other explicitly, then it could count as two cases when it's actually one case. Okay, thank you so much mrs carter. All right, thank you for this. And thank you for the question about the type of testing because that was uh that's changed from the last presentation because it was going to be the other. So that's good to know because it was an antigen before now it's the pcR and I think we had a lot of questions about that. So that was good information to have. And the question that I had uh, is based on the school site Contacts and on the slide three, it mentions that they'll work with Mako staff and sign up students and staff accordingly. So do you know about how much extra work that we require of our school site staff? Because this is a concern that I know we just kind of head on and here we are with another presentation with that. Yes, thank you for that question this card. So in talking with MArco Medical, they said that in their work with like Cumberland County or Durham that they really try to cater to what each school needs and what their processes need to be so that its streamlined as much as possible. But I don't want to say that it's no lift for the school, but I think whoever the site context will be, they will have to be in communication with make a medical and decide on like say, for example, if they decide that the testing, they will be on Tuesday, making sure that there's a space for them and the folks who have signed up for testing, there's a predictable schedule that allows them to say during this time, come to this space to get tested and then report back to class. So those are things that make oh and we and the school will work out together so that it is, has guess minimal impact on the instructional time for our students. Yes. Um uh that would be great. The minimal impact on instruction and also minimal impact on our school staff and just keep saying that can. Um, and yeah, so that was those were my um, Oh, the other question I have, if students are 18 in high school, do they require parental legal guardian or can they opt themselves in? I believe parental consent is required across the board if you are a student. Thank you for that. This cash. So I'm glad it's a pcr test. I think, I think you did mention that the last time because that doesn't really have any false positives. But but literally, so I'm trying to understand why you would do voluntary corn, voluntary testing as a student if we can't use it for. And I'm not really making a statement here, I'm not making any statement. I'm just trying to understand because we can't use it. So, parents aren't confused if we have a exposure in our school and we have a testing site there, we can't send our exposures to that testing. So it's not helping any of our covid testing or tracing currently. So the voluntary testing that a student would do, what is the reason for that? Just for community spread. Well, I think from the ways that both DHHS and may go put it to us. You know, they said there's two types of testing, right? One is the pool testing that were we're working on with Mako medical or the in the diagnostic. But the reason we're starting with the pool testing and I think the benefits that were described to us is it's a preventative measure to understand what is going on in the school community before saying exposure or potential clusters happen. It's to get a litmus test from a voluntary pool. Are there any positivity rates within that pool? And if so, like you can address it more proactively instead of waiting for someone to be exposed and then report after. And it's like instead of maybe Maybe this once a week testing does allow us before a student is exposed and then goes on to activities and doesn't find out until 24 hours later. It's trying to get to that result sooner from the pool. So we can follow up with the people who are potentially positive more immediately. So it's more for this spread. Not necessarily. Yeah, it's a preventative measure where as a diagnostic tool, if we were opting into that that and the reason we're not opting into that MS caches that that that requires from the vendors for our staff to do the testing. And so that's why we're not open to the diagnostic as of yet. But the diagnostic would be more what you describe. So a student is exposed and they want to know and my positive or not and then we would confirm or if they're if they're symptomatic, but we're not at that place is like you all have said, we're trying not to uh add too much burden on the staff. Okay, that's good. I just want to I want people like in our schools to know that if they were exposed to a student and then they're sent home and we have a testing site there, this isn't for that. This is only for a pool of students that are not necessarily exposed. Okay. Mr cole question do we foresee at any point not knowing that? Uh huh. Athletics is still one of the biggest areas opportunities for transmission. Do we see at some point? Including student athletes as part of the testing? I think that's something we can discuss. Chair setting about. Do we want to do something specific for athletics? You know, I think in a previous presentation we're talking about how to make sure that seasons can continue and there aren't too many cancellations of games or practices. So that is something we can look at. We don't have a plan fully outlined yet, but that's something we can consider and bring back at a later time. Just think about particularly schools where they have already been quarantines of teams of what have you? Is that something that we would consider it? Take a look at? I think that the voluntary pooled testing that we're talking about could potentially be expanded to include athletic teams as part of the rotation I think. But I think if you're looking more that the diagnostic like Miss Cash was talking about earlier, that's further down. But that's down the road a little bit weird building a runway. Frankly we're easing in this way and then seeing how we can what we learn from that and then what it takes to expand and move further. But if and again if that if that diagnostic were offered and voluntary that's one thing. But if you're talking about Mr Sutton is moving towards um a more mandatory testing of student athletes that would require a more discussion and decision. So that's not that's not where we're headed at this point. But would you would guys would be a part of that discussion before I need to like that was ever made. It's got and then I just had a question about testing it. I just sorry I started thinking about something else. I'll get right back to you on that. Sorry. No problem. Dr martin thank you. A couple more questions from the discussion. Is the opt in a rolling opt in. So if if a family doesn't opt in an initial rollout could a couple weeks later say oh I think that's a good idea locked in. Yeah I believe we can set it up so that that rolling basis can occur because it's going to be a school based sign up. So if a family say doesn't opt in during week one. But they're like, hey we think this is a good idea, Can we set that up? I'm sure we can figure that out with the school team and the Meiko team. Okay. I think, I think that would be a wise thing to do because I think there's from what I'm hearing, there's an important communication aspect for this to be successful because I think most people when they hear testing, think the diagnostic and I think the pool has a very valuable purpose, but that really is going to take a community commitment to say, hey, we want to work together to keep our school safe. So that's not going to, that's not going to ring the first time around. So it's going to take multiple levels of communication. So I strongly encourage is to put together a strong communication plan that describes the pool, why it's important to be part of the pool. Here's how you opt in and then hopefully as that word gets around will get more people to join. So I think rolling is valuable and a strong communication is also really valuable before we moved there because I'm just to be clear about the opt in peace because I want to make it confusing or complicated than what it is. Is it an actual opt in or opt out or are we? Because it seems to me that the opt in would pretty much be driven by the fact that they signed a consent form. So if you, if we start with students who have turned in or going online a computer consent form, then those are the students that would be tested that week. Yes, sir. So the way that students are signed up is through the consent form and you know, there's communication initially and then the school would have to go through a process with Mako Medical to get the consent forms completed, turned in and make sure that we have the rosters for the week by week testing clear. Right. And so that would be the opt in process. So if someone signs a consent form and says I'm good with this than they are signed up for the weekly testing or the pool essentially be as you know, if you're testing once a week and the student brings that consent, if it's a paper copy form, if it's an electronic form, but you would start with those that have completed the consent has more students and perhaps employees, but primarily the students turning the consent forms or swimming, it's a paper coffee or what have you then the school sort of builds a roster of students based on who has competed a consent form and that might expand. Some were going later in the week, but we've already tested that on monday, then they would not start until you start sort of the next round. So it's essentially would be quickly. Yeah, the reason I raised the question is because for some studies, which is what you do a pool testing for some studies you want to have, I want this same cohort throughout the entirety of my test. If you haven't joined by time X then it's not valuable to add later. I think this is a case where its value to join at any time. So so that my opt in question really was not going to cut off that if you don't sign up by this point you're not part of it will take you anytime. I think that's what I was looking for for the update and I would say to based on my experience it is reasonable reasonable to expect that there would be some lift on staff at the beginning of the process and that's the collecting of the consent forms building of that roster, so to speak and then it would sort of smooth out after that because in the makeup staff takes over and all you're doing is they're going to testing piece. Look at my second question, particularly related to the the pool testing is how does that relate to the quarantine issue? This cash races as frequently and I think it is appropriate to return from quarantine if if if you were told you have to be out on quarantine to return. We say you need a negative covid test. I think normally we hear that is a diagnostic test to return. So I guess the question and this would depending on the answer should or should not be part of the marketing piece. But if you are part of the pool and the pool tests negative, does that suffice to be that negative test to allow you to return from quarantine? Well, I think it would depend on the scenario. So for example if a pull test negative for, I don't think there's no need for individual follow up for anyone within that pool. But if another pool test, there's there's indications of positivity within another pool and those individuals would be connected with and then they would have to do the follow up tests to make sure that on the individual level, are you, are you positive for covid in that moment or not? And then from there we would have to then make sure we're explaining to those specific individuals What their quarantine options are, whether it's a 7, 10 or 14 day quarantine and from there just you know, make sure that like that's where the return process would not be different. Doctor martin where if someone is confirmed positive from the pool testing the same ways to return will be the same as if you if you got covid from an exposure in the community and you've got to confirm test from like a testing site at a community center. Okay. I think I understand there's a lot of, well there's a lot of complexity here, I'm going to recommend that we create a flow chart so that people sort of, you know, if this than this because I think I heard that if I'm in a pool and the pool tests negative, then that that is the basis where I can return from quarantine as though I had an individual test. If the pool test positive and I'm out on quarantine, then I've got the next step in the flow chart that says, I have to have to do a secondary individual test in order to return. So I think we is that correct? That's how it worked. Like, so if there's a positive pool, then we follow up at the individual level two who amongst that pool was the positive one so that we can isolate it and not say now the entire pool must quarantine. It's more like isolating who amongst this pool actually test positive on the individual level and then work through the quarantine guidance on an individual basis, not necessarily for the whole pool. Part of the incentive to sign up for the pool is if the pool tests negative, then you're done. If you were in the classroom or write it. Right? So this gets back to communication. Communication, communication is going to be really important on this. So people know what the value of this, but the thing that I want to clarify to miss caches point is that if somebody was exposed and then they are also part of the voluntary testing pool. Hopefully they're not. If they're exposed and confirmed positive, they're not back at school until they've gone through the quarantine procedures for a pool test, but case Okay. I think that's one that would need to be reviewed further. I just want to make sure that whatever stated on that, that we've got real clarity and that that were aligned with the HHS on that, because they just want to make sure we've got clarity on that before we we make that public about how we were. Right, thank you. And I think it just shows the number of scenarios that will have to be mindful of as we go through this testing process. Okay, Well thank you. And let's say, I just want to really highlight how important it is that we communicate it clearly. So people know Thanks mrs Kushner, thank you Chair Sun, and thank you mr cho for bringing this forward. Um so, um as far as opting in, is it a one time opt in? So they don't have to do it weekly? No, So it's not a weekly, often as once consent is given then on a weekly basis, Mako will make sure to have the roster and they make sure to check off the people who are supposed to report for this voluntary testing pool, our ex people and if anyone doesn't show up, they also let us know who missed the voluntary weekly test. Okay. And I would assume if folks want to, it's going to be purely voluntary for both staff and students. Yes, ma'am. And And that folks could also opt out if they decide they don't want to get tested anyway. But the caveat is once we move to that Phase three where the federal mandates come into play, um, you know how that was? My next question is for staff with the whatever mandate is coming from the Health and Safety administration, that staff would either need to be vaccinated or get weekly testing. Yes. Or the state has to adopt an equally effective alternative per whatever that looks like. Right. And so we'll have to see once The 80 s gets released to the states. I believe it's something like they have 15 days to think through the plan and then 15 days to implement it. So in that implementation will have to see what the north Carolina legislature does around that, but they will be coming from the state and where the federal um guidance, Right. And the current guidance is any organization over 100 employees would have to require that employees are vaccinated or if they're unvaccinated, um, submit weekly tests or an equally effective alternative. Let's define whatever that will will be. But there is at this point, no mandatory testing and no mandatory vaccines. Right? In phases one and two, we would not. It would all be voluntary, but it's almost like we're setting up the infrastructure to have a testing program within our district when phases one and two and hopefully by phase three, all all schools and as many of our central office buildings will have a testing, a predictable weekly schedule where people can get tested and the pcR test is um, one that's considered, the gold standard will have fewer false positives or false negative. So I'm happy to hear that clarification today and for parents since this is for students and staff, can we also including our communication because I think Wake County has done such a great job um, having testing throughout the county. Can we also include a link or or some information on the county side of the available testing for parents and family members who may be seeking either an antigen test or a pcR I don't know if the county's doing PcR tests but however they can, they can access those tests from the county level. Yes, I think that's a that's a good way to think about it. And I think that kind of coincides with maybe also letting folks know where vaccination events happen and where those those locations are is almost like a one oh one. Like basic, here's all the information if you want to get tested or get vaccinated here. It is along with explaining what are voluntary testing. Things have changed so rapidly and parents are, I still talk to families who don't know about the county testing program and um, we think we talked about it a lot but there's some who are still accessing private sector testing when they could access the county's testing, which is more convenient and much free or lower cost. Right? And what I might say, Mr Kushner, you're right. Like people often want to go to the pharmacies for the test, but there's also plenty of, like for me, I've done tests at Durham County at El centro for example, and it's very quick and fast and they give you the results right away. I've seen like a 24 hour turnaround. So I think it's just important for folks to know that it doesn't have to be just your private primary care physician or pharmacy. You could go to these community centers and they have, they have nurses and medical professionals, they're implementing the tests. Thank you. Because I think it will help us in our school level. So I'm glad to hear the pooling testing coming forward. Thank you sir. Mr scott. Thank you. And sorry, this was my first cup of coffee today, so it's a little a little slow there earlier. I'm sorry. Um, but my question actually relates to what Mr Kushner was just asking about and if you could help me better understand because diagnostic testing is totally different from the this full testing. It sounds like that's going to be further discussed to folks to really understand what it means and what it what it doesn't mean? But right now if a child who was not vaccinated has cold symptoms, are they not allowed to return to school until they have a can provide a negative PcR test. Is that our um I mean not universally but a lot of the cold symptoms may parallel with what the CDC symptoms are for covid. So right now if anyone has is symptomatic, that's on the list of the C. D. C. Symptoms, then those they're they're instructed to not come to school that day until Um they've waited out 10 days or have an alternate diagnosis or have a negative test. So 10 days. Okay. Um as I may or may not have had a child who I reached out to the school to let them know. We did the 24, you know the old if you're sick and we did use PcR testing through the county. But they did ask, they said we need to see that. So I just wondered how much of a barrier that might be for those parents who are being honest with their Schools about their child's symptoms. Are they keeping them out the whole 10 days or the schools requiring, Well it doesn't have to be just a 10 days. 10 days is one of the three pathways to return when someone has symptoms. 10 days is one of the options. The second option is an alternate diagnosis and the third option is negative negative test, negative PcR molecular test but you know folks should not return until their symptoms are gone. Right. But each of those is kind of is it could be a potential barrier for her family is depending on where they live, if they have access to the PcR testing. So just a barrier to being in school is what I'm right. So if someone, you're saying if someone like a family, a child has symptoms, but you know, they can't come to the school, they don't have access to the test. What how can we fill that gap is your question Miss Scott? It is. So like in the case of I hate to use my own kids, but I have experience with them every day. But in the case of my own child, they were symptom free, but it was not, it was two days prior. We're talking about like a two. Um, you know, the following all of that. So at that point they didn't have a fever, their throat wasn't hurting anymore. And we had the negative test, but we, we have one that's, you know, a five minute drive away from our home with wake County testing. If we hadn't had that, then I would have needed to have taken her to the pediatrician or just wait it out. But 10 days from that where I initially reported her as having several symptoms. I know this is something you brought up to us before Miss got about essentially the access to testing so that a student can return to in person instruction. And I think it's something that we're going to have to keep bookmarking and figure out to what degree can diagnostic testing be available more, you know, more in our communities beyond just the school walls because there are gonna be, even if someone has opted into this testing, if they're symptomatic and they missed the pool testing day, what happens then? So I think it's something that we have to talk about continually with both make a medical and are a wake county partners and the health department to just make sure that that's an issue that's being brought up that we need to figure out how to address placing more for Yes, that's not at all. What I'm saying is that our staff should have to do more. Um, but just in that communication that we have where we have DR martin mentioned as well that it is clear for parents, is there still wondering like how many days do I do this, where do I go for this form that perhaps a link you know to PcR testing? I know there are, I know that sometimes there are like transportation, there's transportation available through certain nonprofit. So just if we could try to do our best to sort of have that in one place for families, I think that would be much appreciated in the parts of our county where they don't have access to the rapid test. Thank you miss scott. Thank you. Mr Haggerty, thank you just a few things real quick. I wanted to reiterate something that DR Martin said about communication. Again, we've talked about this before. We put information out on the website. But then sometimes just for people that are visual learners having a flow chart where things can be very clear and visible and visual will help avoid a lot of confusion, especially when there's differences between when people are quarantining and under what conditions they quarantine. Um Mr Sutton says something that triggered a quick question when you asked about athletics. I wanted to check and this is necessarily about athletics, but it was a situation that arose with another school district and they're testing in their athletic program and that is with me. Do we have any guarantees or any projections about the availability of staff the MaKO staff to go forward? Because I know, for example, some school districts had enacted policies say for testing of their athletes, but that was back at the beginning of the year and they haven't been able to find the staff to carry out the tests and so now they're seasons are almost over and they've never had any testing. And so I just was curious sort of, is this something that will enter this agreement with Mexico and then we'll get in line or is it something where they can guarantee that this would happen by the dates we well, I mean, I think given the labour conversations we've had, we'll have to just be open minded to the current context, but what Mako has explained to us is that, you know, for example, in Durham County, they started with five schools the first week and then in subsequent weeks added the staffing and the testing at the schools on a rolling basis and they let us know the Cumberland County, they did a similar model where they started with a few schools and then added on. So they said that that's been that's been their process and in terms of like working it out and making it sustaining, I think that's maybe the question that you're getting two of like once we set it up, how sustaining can we make it so that it's not, it's not burdensome. I mean, I'm sure there's always going to be some type of scheduling hiccups or a student is absent or whatever it might be, but outside of that making it sustaining, it's something that Mako has said that they are going to be able to do and I think they're constantly hiring from what they shared with us, but we'll have to just kind of put together the plan and also be open minded to how, how we roll it out and how we can stay in communication with them to work out any, any of the speed bumps that we might see. Thank you appreciate it. But to your point Mr Haggerty, we want to make sure that what we are messaging and what we are implementing that makeup has the capacity to do so and that we are and that were messaging timelines that are achievable. Thank you. Just you don't want to announce something and then not be able to do it and then push it back and it just creates more uncertainty and lack of faith in the process I guess. And then the final thing is you've talked about the rollout and building it up in the phased approach. We haven't really talked about how long it would go on or what you anticipate. And I'm just curious is this, we get it up, build it and then when the federal mandates in place, we're under that federal mandate and we just keep going until we hear something different from the federal government or did you have any sort of metrics or plans when you might roll that. I do think that once the federal mandate is in place that the question around staff with vaccines are testing will be answered. I think then as we have seen what has happened with the voluntary program and the rollout into additional schools, we can have conversations and of course taking a look at what's happening with the metrics in the community, including percent of students of different age groups that are vaccinated, etcetera whether or not we want to continue the relationship with Mexico and beyond the staff testing that we might need to happen as a part of the mandate with regards to specific groups of students or something else and that's where the extended conversation later on would come up. All right. Uh No further questions. Nothing else. That's cool. No thank you very much. All right. All right. All right. Next up is our conversation around year round schools and let's see Mr Karos coming up. We're trying over you or are you? So staff would like to continue a discussion around year round schools. I know we're pressed for time so we probably won't get to each and every one of these scenarios. But I would like to continue the discussion about how do we look at overcrowded schools? How should we attack looking at underutilized schools in the district? Um It's I'll wait for the slide deck to come up. But I just in the meantime I want to just talk about some of the items that have come up in previous conversations. When it comes up to slide three I just want to outline um Six and seven were two of the items that we didn't capture last time that were brought up. One of them was the cost of operating an underutilized school is not effective. We've seen that in previous presentations, especially when we're looking at the middle school level. We have some underutilized schools, specifically multi tracking around at the middle school level And then seven. The conversation came up around aligning alignment with grades six through 12 as opposed to K through eight. And a lot of that has to do with um not having proximate year round elementary seats in the area to fill a year round middle school. That was one of the discussion points that came up. And so staff would like to dig a little bit further into those conversations as we move forward. Um We can do it either through making recommendations um through continued discussion. I know time is a very rare thing to get you for large chunks of time. So we may need to rethink how we want to have this conversation moving forward but I know we have asked for work session items and and committee meetings as necessary. So One of the things I'd like to just kind of go through real quick, let's skip ahead to slide seven to slide eight. So eight here we had given you another crowding scenario. Um The first crowding scenario we had given you pretty much looked at, we needed to convert a school. We didn't have any new schools opening in an area were severely overcrowded at the current school. The surrounding schools were also overcrowded. Um We had talked through different scenarios, looking at domino reassignments, looking at leapfrog reassignments. Um And it pretty much came to, you know when all else fails. We need to look at seriously considering changing the school calendar and staff heard that from you but there are other scenarios that may not go to that extreme. And so we're trying to get some energy from you around? What are some solutions that you could support? Um, as a district? Um, are we looking at a domino reassignment? Is that more favorable than a leapfrog reassignment? Considering the pros and cons. When you look at a domino reassignment, you're trying to provide a more approximate school. It's not the most approximate school, but a more approximate school for all students. A leak for a leapfrog reassignment may not do that may also um, add additional concerns to transportation an area that has already have a number of bus drivers in a number of bus routes ready. So just looking at this particular scenario, it won't go through each of them, but each have them. Would a domino reassignment be something you could support in this particular scenario where you've got overcrowding, expected growth in the area? No new schools in the sip and then looking at the multiple schools. They're, I mean, some of the concerns we would have is what's the board's energy around reassigning students from a traditional calendar school to a multi track with part of a reassignment and vice versa. I mean that is something we often hear in conversations ongoing right now. In our enrollment plan, some parents feel attached to a particular calendar and when at all possible. Staff does try to not assign students to a different calendar? We try. Um, but it's not always possible. And so where is the board's energy around that? And I'll just open that up to comments. So one factor that's not in the scenario, but I think it's important to look at would be, you know, here you've presented some other schools, some that are you around, some that are traditional. So if we're looking at an assignment question, Yeah, it makes sense. But what we don't know is the feeder patterns from the elementary schools to the middle. So for example, if we look at conversion as an option, do we have year round elementaries that feed a traditional middle where conversion would align the calendars or is it all being fed with traditional elementaries, in which case the conversion would create more misalignment. And so, you know, if we're looking than at areas where we could reassign if there's some feeder schools city around, could we reassign those two a year round and then some feeder schools are traditional assigned those areas to traditional. So that's sort of another component of it. I didn't really see here, but that would be important to me. And I think that that's an issue that staff wrestles with. Right, Because we do not have class size restrictions at a middle school or high school, we do have them at elementary. So it does limit our capacity within the buildings and so in certain areas in order to keep more students assigned to the school, we may need to look at, um using the multi track year round calendar. Um So that's why I think staff would like to really further that discussion. You know, are we trying to really keep K. Eight calendar alignment because we can't always um honor approximate multi tracking around middle school that will feed properly. And to your point also have enough of a cohort or feeder schools where students will flow into that because a lot of the issues and concerns we see is especially as you look at application schools that are further away, parents don't opt for a school that's further away. It may be the same calendar consistency, but they tend to not ask for that school as much and to just give you some quick data just off the top of my head here, we have just putting in perspective the number of applications students okay into year round. Um For elementary There's only 1850 students that have calendars into a multi tracking around school at the elementary level. Um The opposite of that coming out of elementary year round 1 850 students that are currently calendar application students in a multi tracking around elementary And then in verse of that you've got 1740 students that have calendars into a traditional calendar school. And then at the middle school level it's 101,333 into the multi track and 975 into traditional. So when you look at the overall population, you're looking at 160,000 students. You know, we're not really looking at a large portion of our district's population. And again, these are just multi tracking around in traditional. We do have track for and modified which aren't as you know, higher numbers. But I think the significant number of our district's population is on traditional and multi track. So I mean as staff continues to look at this, um, looking at a building's efficiency, Is that something you think the staff should seriously consider? I know, you know, as we try to find cohorts, um, we can, we can offer options. I think they may not be approximate. But then the question becomes, if people don't apply to the school that we need to, to fill the school, should we then reconsider whether we continue with that option? Because while you hear people say, hey, I want that calendar, I want that calendar. I guess the question to you is that what cost to the district to provide that? So, and then and who's applying to that school as well? Well, I think another caveat to that is how many of those schools, whether they be traditional or multi track that people are transferring into our, those were requests into or those are actual students attending. The other question is how many folks request and we're not able to accommodate that, right? Because we have a lot of, you know, our over crowded areas and so sometimes facilitating that transfer is not always possible, but I appreciated the feeder pattern piece because I think, you know, we've, we've looked at that intensely to make sure as we're looking at the K eight alignment piece to make sure that that's, that's happening. I think you know what this is showing for me and I know we're only on scenario two of this is that each school and each, each assignment pieces so unique and has their own factors that, you know, I think we can't necessarily prescribe if A then B. But looking at it a case by case basis, but I think, you know what we're talking about also is you know, when do we look at multi track as that factor? So thank you. This is kate. So being that I'm kinda in the middle of this as well right now with so all I ever see as the driving force mainly stability. Um and so like when in my area like I'm reassigning Children out of a school that's overcrowded, they're now saying make us multi track so we can stay. But that has come up many times in my area where I wanted to look at reassignment versus calendar and they always say we just want to stay in the school were at, so whenever we've got these pillars is that I don't again understand at all and I know we were kind of forced into maybe, I don't know how they came about, but that stability peace, I think we, we really need, while we're looking at this year round conversation possibly talk about these um, pillars because I may be the only one that sees stability being like a, the big push. Um, I thought it was a proxy proximity sometimes, but again, it depends on the population, depends on where we're talking to school and all that. But so when we're talking about the calendar, sometimes, when you look at choices is based on the fact that they think they're going to actually get to stay at that school on a traditional calendar or they think they're going to get to stay at that school on the year round calendar. But when you go to them and say the schools too crowded, we need to reassign you. Then they say, can you just change our calendar. So I just want us to be aware of that might be part of their choices too and we can look at the impact that would cause right. Any other comments just to follow up on this cash. I mean, I remember one scenario where we did ask a school and half of them wanted to stay traditional and they tended to live closer to the school and then they lived closer to the school and the other half said stay, go, stay year round and it was very divisive and I think it, I think to miss the happiest point, it seems every school has a whole different, every set of circumstances creates a different dynamic and sometimes it's an easier call than others. And and I would be happy to talk about the pillars sometime offline because I think Before we came to those four pillars with a lot of just trying to look forward and also balance how different every scenario is and trying to balance achievement, diversity, equity, stability, proximity and the operational efficiency. I think each case calls for different balancing of those pillars. So I again think it's hard to say there's one formula for every school but are they, are they working for us during like as we're telling parents why we're moving them or why we're changing their school. I understand, I can actually understand how you got to those. I'm trying to figure out where we go from here. I would agree that with those. Yes, I would agree. And they were talking for us and they work against us because if something's for operational efficiency and we're talking about a leapfrog assignment for that, then you're not looking at, you might be a proximity but not the most proximate school. So there is uh an inherent tension in those pillars which is hard because there's a lot of emotion when it comes to getting that notification that you're being reassigned and stability is easier when there's not as much growth, right? I mean with high growth areas it's a struggle to have stability of calendar and assignment and so to clarify, I'm not really thinking that I would put stability as a number one priority. So I'm just knowing that that's what people talk to me about a lot. I would probably pick efficiency and some of the other things in our system. But I think with the board maybe we need to decide what is the pillar that we need Put as our 1st Pillar. Does that make sense or do we just keep using these four pillars and then they, we haven't really weighed them based on what's best for the school system but and I know it could be bad for the school system, whichever pillar you go because you guys have you guys, I mean a lot of the board members that are here have been through things that I have not been through. So I understand that I don't really have the history on that one well but you bring different history to it, but I think it's I mean that's why there's nine of us. Um So I think the student achievement has always been, I think the pillar that we rank first and then we don't consider at the same time if that makes sense. You know, and and I think that also speaks to the difficulty of balancing those four pillars because student achievement should come first and everything we do. I'm in support of sort of the complexity of this discussion, but also to the point of this point on the work session, you know, I think we often talk about wanting to make data based decisions and when everybody says they have to use data based decisions, that usually gives me an ulcer, but that's all right, I'm going to say that now because I think what the data is showing us which you presented and what this discussion is showing us is the calendar is a secondary or tertiary at best factor preference of the school, the offerings of the school, the proximity, the stability, Those are the things that way, way heavier. That's what the data is showing way heavier than the calendar. So from that perspective, while changing a calendar has a lot of internal angst and there's lots of things associated with it. I think the data is saying that we can afford in this case to step back and be a little bit more objective and put the operational efficiency as kind of a big driver and in that case if we have an under enrolled school that's costing us more, it's costing the educational program more. I mean there's dollar costs and there's human costs and educational costs that all get associated with the underworld schools. So I think the data is telling us this is a case where we can let the calendar be a little bit more of that, you know, dial factor based on data and efficiency because the real issues I think go much deeper than that. It's the connection to the school and so on. So I think we can, I think we can in this case come up with some kind of objective criteria scott. Mr Carson. Do we know how many of our Under enrolled schools are? Title one schools. I don't have that data handy. I'm sorry. No, that's okay. I just just started thinking about that because I think that unfortunately impacts perception of schools. Obviously we see the school letter grades mm when those come out and when you compare Those two in the number of students who are free and reduced lunch. I mean it goes hand in hand and the problem with the perception, which is, I think something that needs to be like in the back of our heads with us as we're looking at this work is how many parents would tell you that these are phenomenal schools Miss Cash and was happy. Just toured one of my titles on high schools with me the other day and to, to go in there. Um, I mean, you, you can't tell by the things you're hearing and the kids and the way that, I mean, you would not know. But if you only look at what you see in social media or what you see on the letter, you know, in the newspaper, it put something into our parents heads and it's really unfortunate that the state of north Carolina has sort of doubled down and shaming these schools because amazing things happen in them. So I just I'd be curious to know how many, I mean I know in my district that number, but I just overall I'm just curious about that at some point in your spare time. If I could, if we could all see that. Thank you this cash. I think I asked Mr Crows, I think I asked you the question about how many of our cap schools actually serve Children from all over the county rather than just in one district or approximate areas. And I think there's only two of all of our cap schools, they have have assignment areas that are not approximate. Yeah. And that would be the elementary Abbotts Creek. And that's another thing that I'm concerned about as well that we have so many cats schools that are just handling the growth in the area and not necessarily handling the county can, what we want to do in the county or some do well. And to that point, which we talked about the facilities, a lot of those schools then say, well we need this room for capacity. We can't provide the special education services. So special education kids, you have to go to that school instead of being provided here. Right? So it's not just former diversity nodes. It's even if you're living there and you have the spec, it needs, you have to go somewhere else. So, I mean to your point? So when you're trying to reassign out of a cat school, they'll start picking on all different um, specialties that might need to go whether than the neighborhood next door. But again, that's something that all of our schools should share. And it's a wonderful thing to have these kids there and especially the special needs Children, their education programs. It's awesome to have them there. But we all know that that's something that the whole county needs to, to be together on. So for the sake of time, can we turn to slide 16? So staff had put through a couple of different future sessions and you know, realistically looking at the timepiece and you know, we have draft to coming up and then a final draft in the holidays plus you have plenty of other non student assignment related activities that you deal with on a day to day basis. Um, for the next meeting that we find time to bring a conversation to you. I'm actually gonna turn it over to you. What what would be the topics or what would be the energy towards the discussion like to put this conversation forth so that we can start making plans for The 23, 24 school year because you know, I certainly don't think that 22, school year without giving parents an ample runway as as you have said prior Looking at 23 24 so that we can continue these discussions, what would be the topics that you really want to start addressing and solidifying so that staff can start moving forward with creating some suggestions for you. I mean, are we looking at alignment? Are we looking at, you know, the year round or choice with a purpose? Um, you know, we're talking about, you know, the four pillars. What are some of the things that you think that as a group, you can just sit down hash out and prioritize and say, look, this is what we want to move forward with and this is how we want you to move forward with it. Mhm mm hmm. So choice with purpose is clearly in my mind, sort of overarching and all of it. My and I hear The concern about thinking about 23, But I am going to reraise what I raised from my own district because there's a lot of requests, particularly for under enrolled schools and I'm the under enrolled schools. Some of them are struggling when they're forced to be on the multi track calendar And at least some of our schools and I know two in my district are interested. You know, even they've asked could that happen this year. So while I appreciate and believe that most of the impact from this discussion does need to give plenty of runway. But I know that there are some schools that have been asking for this for a long time and are asking us not to just keep kicking the can down the road. So in that respect, particularly for under enrolled schools, I'd like to see that discussion as early as possible so that decisions could come potentially earlier. I'm but overall the choice with purpose I think is the work I'd like to see done. But I'd really like us to be able to take some action on the under enrolled cases. Okay. And I think from a staff perspective, I think I was more thinking of, you know, looking at a multi track to a traditional kind of Type of move not so much like a multi track, maybe two or 3 track or a single track and superintendent more. If you have any input on that. I don't think that we need as long as a runway. If you're staying within a multi track year round going to a single track, which would be the most impactful. I don't think you need as long of a runway. But I mean, we can certainly look at those options. Right. So there is a technical piece of work that could be done to examine what the capacity and enrollment is at our multi tracking around schools. Elementary, how many of them are feeding a middle and from a numbers perspective, look at the needs and the health in terms of what's fully enrolled and utilized and that sort of thing. And decisions could be made to make changes based on those sort of technical aspects, the extent to whether or not those bear out in the long run based on where the board ends up in the, the choice with the purpose conversation and the vision and the pillars behind how we, you know, enact multi tracking around program in the district. It may, it may not fully align and I really just think, it's we've got 20 years of layering on Without, you know, and, and really it might even, it's actually less than 20 years because it was all done And there's not been a lot of change since around 2007, 2009, that area, you know, there was a big change 22, you know, mandatorily converted to multi tracking around and that was all about capacity was not about feeder patterns was not about choice with the purpose and, and, and we've been nit picking at it since then for the last 10 to 12 years, but not making wholesale changes. And we've lost both the need for the, for the seats in some of the locations, it's increased in other areas and the pieces that weren't attended to prior to 2000 and eight around alignment pattern feeder patterns, um, haven't borne out and new multi tracking around schools that have been created since then in the recent past tended to be created based on other feeder patterns in the area. An example would be Herbert chickens and where we're getting ready to go there. Um and we have more multi track middle year round, I believe, than we need correct period in the district. Um and uh, and there are certain parts of the district where we could stand to lose some um and have them and just, and the purpose of moving them though to single track again, that has to have some strategy and vision behind it as well. Such that we're saying, is that a permanent move, is it a temporary move? Do we expect to move back to multi tracking around what are our numbers say for the future? Um or do we move it back to traditional and leave it there? Um Because I think that's the problem, we, we have a number of schools in parts of our county that we move to single track thinking that at some point we would move them back to multi track. We've never had to move them back to multi track year round. We have discussed and brought to a board vote, potentially moving those back to traditional, but it it didn't happen. And so there there there are lots of layers. And I think again, from a technical point of view from that, we can tell you which ones right now, probably don't need to be multi tracking around anymore, but how that fits into the bigger conversation and and how that is received in the community needs to be carefully thought out. And I agree with that. Like having schools in my district who are actively talking to me about this. I actually think that there would be support around the idea of, we recognize that there could be a transitional move time. And so for example, multi track to single track as a transitional while a decision is made whether to stay on single track or potentially eventually go to traditional. So I think some have felt the strain long enough that again, if messaged well and communicated well, I think there are those that would be glad to see some action even knowing it was a transitional decision. I am happy. Thank you And um, Superintendent. I appreciate everything that you've said. And I think, um, Mr Crowe's, I'm, I'm happy to see the reporting out of data and cost analysis. Um,