Newton USD 373 will be adding some staff mid-year to deal with COVID-19.


The board approved Monday the addition of a health aide at Newton High School for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year only.


"Our lead nurse is also our high school nurse. She is honestly not able to do the things she normally does — the screenings and stuff," said superintendent Fred Van Rankin. "This Saturday evening she was having to do contact tracing for a COVID case. That is happening on a repetitive basis."


The aide was hired to allow the head nurse the ability to attend to the COVID-related duties and provide services that are considered normal, including the required screenings and updating medical information.


"They are keeping track of quarantine numbers, they are keeping track of COVID cases," Van Rankin said. "... If we do not get her some help, she is going to go off the deep end. She is really overtaxed and cannot take on any more."


A full-year aide would earn approximately $11.75/hour; the max cost per nurse aide would be $22,385.42/year. That total amount will be less depending upon when the position can be filled.


"We will not have that person hired for a couple of weeks," Van Rankin said. "We will have reopen that position."


In other business, the board:


• Approved the 2020-21 handbook for substitute teachers.


• Reviewed gating criteria and set the mode of operation for green — all flexible plan students in school — through Oct. 17.


• Approved KASB policy revisions.


• Accepted a gift of $1,208 from South Central Kansas Library Service on behalf of Newton High School for the purchase of laptops.


• Accepted gifts of $750 from Strawbridge Studios on behalf of Northridge Elementary and Cooper Early Education Center for school photographs.


• Accepted a gift of $2,009 from the Central Kansas Community Foundation for the purchase of masks for students.


• Accepted a gift from the Northrdige Elementary PTO on behalf of Northridge Elementary of $119 for the purchase of a Bluetooth speaker for P.E.


• Accepted a gift from Dillons on behalf of Northridge Elementary of $300 for student and teacher classroom supplies.