The Jefferson City School District decided Monday not to recommend a policy for consideration to the board that would have deemed school staff as essential workers. 

“We heard our staff and families — this is not something they are comfortable with at this time — and so the district did not recommend the policy for consideration by the board,” district spokeswoman Ryan Burns said. 

District officials reached out for input on the policy from staff and district families by allowing them to take a survey on the comfortability on the resolution as well as allowed for commentary on the measure. 

JC Schools Director of Quality Improvement Brenda Hatfield read comments from staff to the board about their feelings on the decision. 

”This proposal demonstrates a lack of concern about teachers, staff health and the health of our families,” one comment Hatfield read to the board said. “There is a big concern about this is not following CDC guidelines, many of the rules including six feet distance make it impossible for a teacher to carry out their essential duties including helping student one-on-one.”

Hatfield said the district received similar feedback from families. 

According to a draft resolution, the policy would have allowed for staff considered a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case to return to school only eight days into the CDC recommended 14 days of quarantine because they are essential with stipulations listed as:  

1. Wear a surgical mask at all times when in the presence of others, regardless of distance, including fellow staff members and students.

2. Remain six feet away from all students and staff, at a minimum.

3. Have their temperature checked upon arrival to school daily by the school nurse and monitored throughout the day.

4. Notify their immediate supervisor and go home immediately if during the course of the day symptoms arise or a fever is present (100.4 degrees or above).

5. Stay home if showing any signs of illness, including a temperature.

6. Not attend non-essential activities including, but not limited to, athletic events, tutoring, and other

non-contractual functions.

7. Limit travel to the essential destinations only (such as school or the pharmacy).

It came as Lewis and Clark and Thomas Jefferson middle schools were switched temporarily to virtual learning instruction because of staff shortages. 

According to a board memo draft of the resolution, “during the month of September, JC Schools was involved with tracking 380 quarantined individuals (staff and students, including those quarantined due to exposure outside of the school environment). Of those 380 individuals, 110 were positive cases and 270 were close contacts. Of the 270 close contacts, only six later tested positive, which is a rate of two percent.”

The policy would have gone into effect Tuesday had it been approved.