By SHERRY DIGMON
The Escambia County Board of Education met via video conference Monday, April 13, to approve a resolution suspending board policy due to the coronavirus pandemic. Schools are closed for the remainder of the school year.
According to the resolution, the Escambia County Board of Education suspends any board policy or provision, identified by the Superintendent or his or her designee, as needed to implement written guidance from the State Superintendent relating to COVID-19 for the duration identified in the Governor’s order of March 13, 2020 and any subsequent executive order.
The Superintendent will consult with the Board as feasible and appropriate and timely report to the Board regarding the emergency closure and efforts to implement written guidance from health and government agencies as disseminated by the Governor and / or State Superintendent.
To the extent it is impossible or impractical for the Board to meet due to health and public safety concerns and / or restrictions imposed by local or state governments and / or health authorities, the Superintendent has the authority to take any action he deems appropriate and necessary to operate the System without prior board approval during the state of emergency. Any such actions will be communicated to the Board in writing as soon as practical, preferably in advance of such action when feasible, and will be reported to the public at the next scheduled Board meeting.
The Superintendent is authorized to close any school facility without further action by the Board. Such closure will continue during the emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic until such time as the Superintendent, in consultation with appropriate health and government authorities, deems it in the best interests of the District and its students to open schools.
The Superintendent is authorized, based upon the needs of the System and the guidance from health and government agencies disseminated by the Governor and / or State Superintendent, to direct staff assignments during closures, including but not limited to essential employees who must report to work, employees who may be reassigned, and employees whose services are not needed.
Access to public school grounds and public school buildings may be limited or repurposed to serve the community as directed by the Superintendent during System closures.
In light of this statewide emergency closure, the Board declares an emergency in which advertising for bids and competitive bid procedures may result in material injury or damage to the public interest of the System. The Superintendent is granted the authority to waive the requirements of advertising for bids and competitive bid procedures for purchases which may be necessary due to the emergency. The Superintendent will document the reasons prompt remedial action is necessary to prevent physical injury to persons or to property of the school district.
Subject to orders from the Governor and / or State Superintendent, in the interest of public health, the board may attend board meetings electronically and will make a reasonable effort to permit the public to observe or listen using available technology.