Monroe County Schools Director Dr. DeAnna McClendon recently discussed how things are going in the Monroe County School System since the students and staff have returned from the holiday break.

“We have had really low COVID numbers in our schools anyway, not counting the number of quarantines, just those that have tested positive,” McClendon noted.

“One of the things that I am seeing is that the virus can be very aggressive ... It seems like those who are getting sick now are having very hard cases of the virus.”

She stated that she has received several reports of the magnitude of the virus’ recent strength.

“One of the things that we have been doing is allowing 10 days paid time off while they or a family member recover,” she said.

McClendon expressed her excitement to have used the schools’ stimulus money to allow their students to become a one-on-one system.

“One of the things that we are excited to do is provide a device to all of our students,” she expressed. “Each student will have their own device by Feb. 29 ... The county districts around us have been one-to-one for a long time and this is a chance for Monroe County to be competitive in education.”

Each device given to a student will be marked and “registered” to the student for them to carry with them until they graduate high school.

“We are very excited to be able to utilize the stimulus money to help our students,” she said. “Anytime that we are able to provide something to our students is a win.”

One topic of concern for McClendon consists of the amount of available vaccines for the school staff to be vaccinated with.

“Our governor has actually moved teachers up on the phase they can receive their vaccination,” McClendon said. “The issue is the number of vaccines coming in has lessened so there has been less opportunity for them to receive the vaccine.”

She noted about half of county school staff has shown interest in receiving the vaccine.

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