The Mooresville Graded School District Board of Education met Monday morning and approved a resolution granting emergency powers to Superintendent Stephen Mauney to allow him greater flexibility in responding to school district matters during the COVID-19 crisis.
The board granted the resolution in a unanimous vote during an emergency virtual meeting held in response to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’s recommendation that groups of 50 or more people should suspend meeting in person.
The resolution grants Mauney the authority to temporarily waive board policies as he sees necessary to comply with guidance from appropriate health or governmental authorities and to take any lawful actions necessary to ensure the continuation of public education.
The resolution also grants him the authority to enter into contracts without board approval for any dollar amount necessary for the purchase of materials or services for sanitation, cleaning, technology or other needs directly related to the COVID-19 emergency.
Additionally, the resolution grants Mauney the authority to provide for the health and safety of students and employees and to respond to direction from appropriate health and government authorities. These actions could include:
» Adjustments to the curriculum and the provision of alternative educational program options
» Adjustments to employee work schedules and assignments
» Modifications to the school calendar
» Adjustments to the delivery of school-provided meals
» Limitations on access to property owned or controlled by the Board of Education
» Applying to any governmental body for financial or other aid and applying to any governmental body for waiver of regulations or requirements whose compliance is affected by the COVID-19 emergency.
BOE Chairman Roger Hyatt said the N.C. School Boards Association recommended local districts approve such a resolution.
Board member Debbie Marsh asked Mauney how he anticipates using these emergency powers.
Mauney said he was unsure if he would need to use these emergency powers bestowed by the board.
“I feel that I don’t foresee enacting anything that would be outside of our common goals and our common dedication to the district,” Mauney said.
He said perhaps upgrading the district’s Canvas system, the software platform allowing students and teachers to conference online, to a premium version with greater bandwidth could be a possible example of using the emergency power.
“I think it’s going to be very infrequent that something like that would come up,” Mauney said.
Monday marked the first day of the district’s virtual home learning program for students and teachers since Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order earlier this month closing all public schools through March 30.
During a 1 p.m. press conference, however, Cooper issued another executive order keeping public schools closed through May 15.
Mauney said he didn’t know of any MGSD families who have been affected by COVID-19 because of Health Department privacy policies but said he anticipated some will eventually test positive for the virus.
Mauney said district teachers succeeded in the huge undertaking of rolling out the new virtual instruction last week.
“I can’t say enough about the work that has been done in our district … We’re just blessed to have such dedicated folks continuing to push forward.”