The Emporia Public Schools Board of Education approved the purchase of 29 walk-through temperature scanners to be used during the upcoming academic year in an online meeting Wednesday evening.
The SafeCheck Walkthrough Body Temperature detectors provide a screening capability of 70 individuals per minute and produce visual and sound alarms upon the detection of an abnormally-high temperature, which is considered to be anything over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Plans on detailed protocol during the event of students testing positive for a fever will be determined at a later date as part of the district’s fall planning process.
“We reviewed several types of single-point scanners …” Assistant Superintendent of Business Rob Scheib said. “The neat thing about these is that they’re multipoint, so a student, staff member or patron will just have to walk through it, and it will guage their temperature as they walk through on multiple points of their body, not just a wrist or forehead. They’re not cheap, and we’re hoping that FEMA reimburses us for a pretty high percentage of the amount because it will be part of our reopening plan.”
The full cost of the scanners is $85,550, not including shipping charges, however the district anticipates reimbursement from FEMA in the amount of $64,162.50 — or 75 percent of the base cost — after receiving the organization’s formal approval on its plan for August in the coming weeks.
Currently, eight scanners are set to be installed at Emporia High while four will be installed at Emporia Middle School. Each district building from grades Pre-K to 5 will house two of the machines — for fourteen in total — while the Flint Hills Learning Center, Mary Herbert Education Center and USD 253 Transportation Department will each receive a single scanner.
In other business, Superintendent Kevin Case provided a brief update on the district’s ongoing planning for the fall semester.
“Tomorrow, the [Kansas State Department of Education] is going to release their draft guidelines and recommendations [for the year] …” case said. “We’ll get that draft information, but we really won’t have finalized information until [the 16th].”
District staff remain committed to having in-person instruction beginning in August, but have also discussed online/live stream options as well as a mix of both approaches. Regardless of the final outcome, board members said their main hope was to come to a solution which made the experience “as normal as possible” for both students and staff.
“I’m glad we’re looking into livestream options because I just can’t even imagine a teacher having to create an in-class curriculum and plan in addition to an online [plan] for every minute of every day,” said Board Vice-President Leslie Seeley in talking on the matter of reducing added stress to staff. “That’s so overwhelming.”
During the meeting, the Emporia Public Schools Board of Education also:
•Elected Leslie Seeley to the position of Board Vice President for the 2020-21 fiscal year
•Accepted a $10,000 “Be the Spark” grant from the Kansas Association for Youth Alumni Network in conjunction with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. The grant will be used to support the EHS KAY Club’s light therapy project.
•Accepted a $500 donation from DistrictWON and Farmers Insurance, as part of their “Safe Decisions” program, along with 150 t-shirts for EHS basketball uniforms. Emporia High School was nominated by local State Farm agent, Luis Tapia Hernandez. The primary focus of the program is to emphasize the dangers of distracted driving and other teen safety issues.