Tracy McAbee

ELIZABETHTON — As the Carter County School System continues to adjust to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the school board heard praises about some of the groups who have struggled to bring about a more normal school year.

October's monthly meeting was again held remotely in an effort to prevent the spread of the the COVID virus. The public could observe and participate by means of Facebook video.

The rate of COVID-19 in the community is being followed as closely as the school attendance rate and ACT averages. Director of Schools Tracy McAbee said there has been an “uptick” in the rate in the community, going from a 5 to an 8, but he said it is too early to tell whether the return to school has had an impact on the rate.

One thing McAbee did acknowledge was the way school employees have met the COVID challenge. McAbee told the school board he was very pleased with Transportation Supervisor Wayne Sams and the whole team of school bus drivers. He said they have met all challenges, including having numerous drivers on quarantine.

The director of schools also praised the school custodians. He said that according to his calendar, the board was meeting on School Custodian Day. He said that was another group who had a lot more placed on their shoulders during the pandemic and they had met the challenge.

The board also approved tenure for qualified teachers. McAbee said the list of those being granted tenure this year is smaller than normal because last year was not normal and, as a result, some teachers were not able to complete all the requirements to qualify for tenure.

Board member LaDonna Stout-Boone said there are teachers on the list who are ”some of the best teachers in the region.”

Stout-Boone said one of the teachers always gave up her planning time in order to provide math tutoring for students. The work she could have accomplished during the planning period was instead taken home with her and completed there.

“I appreciate that. That kind of dedication to students is better than data. That means the world to me that we have teachers that would do that.”