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Covington Schools' Computer, Device Order Delayed Leaving District Scrambling

The Covington board of education on Thursday voted to rent computers and similar devices from Covington-based Blair Technology Group due to a delay in receiving 1,050 iPads and other devices from a company with which it had contracted.

The devices were supposed to arrive the second week of August but now are not expected until late September and possibly October, Superintendent Alvin Garrison said.

Covington students return to school virtually on September 1. 

Blair typically does not do short-term rentals but Garrison said that deal for the district was made, allowing for 700 computers to be rented on a monthly basis. They are expected to be delivered and distributed this week.

Some board members expressed frustration with the situation and April Brockhoff stated that students should be back in school physically.

She argued that staff members had worked hard to have the schools ready for students to return in person before Governor Andy Beshear recommended a delay, and now the district is scrambling for devices.

"It's ridiculous," Brockhoff said. "It's as safe as it's ever going to be!"

In approving a year-long leave of absence for a teacher in the district, board member Glenda Huff expressed concern that more teachers may follow suit if they are worried about COVID-19. She asked what the district would do if many teachers made such a request.

District Director of Personnel Eric Neff said that often a teacher realizes that they may not want as long a break due to the lack of income but acknowledged that teacher departures could be a real thing.

The board also saw a presentation on a new Thermometric Camera system that can offer a temperature reading of students as they walk in a hallway. The cameras would be able to identify any student with a fever.

The district also has thermometers ready to screen students when they enter.

The camera system costs $94,000 so the board wanted some time to think about it.

The board also accepted the compensating rate for property taxes this year, for the ninth consecutive year without a larger increase. The compensating rate ensures that the district brings in the same amount of revenue from property tax as it did the previous year.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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