By Jim Rogers
Enrollment has increased as the Winnsboro ISD returns from the mid-year break. However, attendance is down thanks to COVID, Superintendent Dave Wilcox told school board trustees Tuesday, January 11, 2022 during a called board meeting. During the meeting the board approved submitting a grant request to Texas Community Bancshares (TCBS) for the amount of $10,000 that would be used as start-up funds for the establishment of an Education Foundation for the school.
Dr. Pam Gambrel presented the proposal to submit the grant request to the local school board. The board met in a special session to consider the request due to time constraints for submission. The local school was invited to submit the request for funding through a letter from the TCBS Foundation board received by Wilcox as the first half of the school year ended. Should the grant be funded by TCBS for the local school, the monies will be received in February and must be spent prior to December 31, 2022.
Enrollment at WISD stands at 1,526 as of Tuesday, January 11 up 15 from last semester. However, there are 40 confirmed cases of COVID, which includes 13 staff members. There were no confirmed cases when the first half of the year ended prior to Christmas.
The 40 confirmed cases are the largest number for the school district since the first COVID cases. Last year the highest number peaked at 36 at one time.
With some area schools closing for a brief time due to COVID numbers, Superintendent Wilcox said that contingency plans are in place for the local school but the current plan is to keep the doors of the schools open. He said that some school is better than no school. He stated that it would mean extra duty for teachers and staff but as long as there is supervision and education can continue, it will. Tuesday morning, one WISD school had six teachers out and only one substitute teacher available.
Wilcox told the board that the school nurse has only a limited number of COVID tests available and is only testing those who display symptoms. He and other staff members noted that those who are positive are not as sick as those who were positive last year. It was pointed out that this version of COVID is milder. In other action, the board approved the hire of two experienced Special Education teachers, one at the high school and the other for the middle school. One of the new teachers has been subject to hire as the school year started but could not get out of her contract at the school where she was teaching until now.