At its Feb. 9 meeting, the Dawson County Schools chief told the school board he’s been encouraged by a downward trend in COVID-19 cases in schools, noting a return to case numbers not seen since before the Christmas break.
The board also approved a contract with a copy services vendor that district staff say will free up more money for school leaders to spend on students.
In his superintendent’s report, Dawson County Schools Superintendent Damon Gibbs updated board members on the most recent trends in positive COVID-19 case numbers within the district, which he said have been trending downward since the beginning of the spring semester.
“If you look at the data across the state, the data is trending in the right direction, and we’re back to the levels before the break, early in December,” Gibbs said. “So we’re cautiously optimistic about the data and trending we’re seeing, so we’re going to continue to take measures in our schools to protect our children and our staff.”
Gibbs and Roman Gaddis, executive director of technology for Dawson County Schools, also touched on the topic of the school system’s internet accessibility and what access points are available within the district. According to Gaddis, the school system is doing all it can to help students have access to the internet wherever they go in the schools.
“We have 21 external access points in the district, including about 10 or 11 at the high school so there’s almost no place on the high school campus that you can’t get a wireless signal,” Gaddis said. “So we’re pretty well covered externally, and we’ll have more funds coming available so we may look to expand that outdoor capability.”
Under the Dawson County school board’s unanimously approved contract with its new copy services vendor, Duplicating Products will cover leasing of about 60 copiers in the school district as well as printing, maintenance and support, according to Gaddis.
Gaddis said the school system previously held two different contracts with Duplicating Products for copy services: one for the printers themselves and a second one for maintenance for the printers. Under the new contract, Duplicating Products will handle both the lease of the printers and the maintenance.
According to Gaddis, under the old contracts, each school was responsible for purchasing its own ink for its printers out of general fund money. With the two contracts being combined into one, all copy services, including leasing the copiers, will be covered by funds from a special sales tax for education, or E-SPLOST.
“That puts general fund dollars in the hands of our principals to buy the appropriate supplies they need for our students, so it’s a win-win for us,” Gibbs said.
Gaddis said Duplicating Products was one of three vendors to respond to the school system’s request for bid (RFB) and was the best choice of the three for what the school system needs.
“We put out an RFB back in November, and we had three responses, so we had a team of five people and evaluated them based on several criteria,” Gaddis said. “Then we averaged those scores out and Duplicating Products was the preferred vendor.”