Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Error in June 20 Retreat Minutes

There is a significant error in the Minutes for the June 20, 2020 Board Retreat Minutes. The Minutes are attached to the agenda for today's Regular Board Meeting.

At the top of the Minutes is reported the Attendance. While the starting time of the Retreat is not reported, the notetaker for the June 20 meeting reported that all trustees, by name, were present.

However, the vote to adjourn to Executive Session was approved by only five trustees: Agostini, Manning, McKie, Shadd, Holmes.

Of course, this caused me to wonder why the names of Elkins-Johnson and Caution-Parker were not indicated for the vote.

Down a couple of lines, the notetaker reported that Elkins-Johnson and Caution-Parker joined the meeting during the Executive Session.

Will a Board member at the June 20th meeting ask that the Minutes be corrected?

Correct reporting would have been to note the times when they showed up.

The notetaker reported Holmes as being presented for the vote to enter Executive Session.

The Zoom panel showed only Holmes' name and not a live recording of her presence. The Chair should have told Holmes to start her video, so that the public and the other board members would know she was really present.

COVID-19 Update

At the May 26, 2020 school board meeting the superintendent reported that there had been no reported cases of COVID-19 among Richland 2 students or staff.

With the spike in cases in South Carolina, I wondered whether that was still the case.

At 4:28PM a Richland 2 parent called me to tell me that his wife had just received a broadcast email that the Supt. Davis has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Today's school board Zoom meeting started at 4:32PM and the board, as expected, went directly into Executive Session. There were 110 visitors on the District's site at 4:32PM. The board is expected to reconvene in public session at 5:00PM.

At 6:52PM The State newspaper reported that Supt. Davis had tested positive for COVID-19, receiving the test results today.

There was no mention of his test results during the board meeting.

After the board meeting I read the email from Supt. Davis, which the District emailed at 4:29PM, one minute before the scheduled start of the board meeting:

"Dear Richland Two Community,

I am writing to personally share that I tested positive for COVID-19 today, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Over the weekend I started experiencing mild symptoms, including a sore throat and fever, and was tested on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Following the recommended guidelines, I will isolate for 10 days from the date of my test and until I am symptom free for 72 hours.

Prior to my diagnosis, I was taking every precaution possible, including wearing a mask, maintaining at least six feet from others and working remotely as much as possible. As a result, no district employees are considered to have been in “close contact” with me. According to S.C. DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “close contact” is defined as being within six feet of someone for at least 15 minutes.

I feel it is important to share this news with all of you in an effort to be open and transparent as our community, state and country continue to deal with the pandemic. I urge you to take this virus very seriously because it can affect anyone.

My family and I are taking the necessary precautions to ensure our health and safety, and we appreciate your thoughts and concern during this time. Please keep yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible.

Dr. Baron R. Davis