Franklin Parish School Board members re-elected Richard Kelly, president, Dr. Jacqueline Johnson, vice president and Danny Davis, chaplain.

The action took place at the School Board’s regular January meeting Monday.

The positions are voted on annually by School Board members with the president conducting meetings, the chaplain praying over meetings and vice president stepping in when the president is absent.

In a related matter, School Board members also voted on annual committee representatives.

Members of the maintenance committee are Johnson, Tim Eubanks and Davis.

Members of the finance committee are Alaina Nichols, Mia Dunn and Eddie Ray Bryan.

Nichols, Johnson, and Davis are on the insurance committee while Eubanks, Bryan and Dunn are members of the policy committee.

Meanwhile, Superintendent John Gullatt instructed School Board members to ponder allowing sixth and seventh graders “back into the mix after this next grading period.”

If approved, sixth and seventh graders could start attending school Tuesday through Friday.

“Now, this is providing we don’t skyrocket off the charts here in the next two weeks with cases of COVID,” Gullatt said.  “I would like to get more students back into a regular school setting if possible.”

Junior high and Franklin Parish High School students are currently practicing an “A B schedule” where one group goes Wednesday and Friday and another goes Tuesday and Thursday.

“We could go ahead and start there and get a pretty good idea on bussing,” Gullatt said. “If it looks good, we could possibly throw eighth (grade) in there and start getting the high school back on a quarterly instead of a A B schedule. That is just in my thought process, but I don’t want to rush into something that will put us into a bind.”

Additionally, School Board members will consider extending COVID sick days for employees into the spring semester. School Board legal representative, John Guice, is developing a protocol to follow. If School Board members agree to the protocol, they will vote on it in a possible special meeting.

“If you had COVID in the fall and used (the sick days), you wouldn’t get anymore if you get COVID in the spring,” Gullatt said.

Federal legislation gave school employees 10 sick days for COVID-19 in the fall but legislators left it up to local school boards’ decision to extend those sick days for the spring.

“I just think we need to be fair about it,” Gullatt said. “I didn’t get sick the fall, but I get punished in the spring. I think we need to do something.”

The local school system would have to assume the burden to pay salaries during possible COVID-19 sick days.

In similar news, coronavirus vaccines could possibly be offered to school employees in upcoming weeks, Gullatt said. But, if an employee has a pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure, school medical representatives will not administer the shot.

“You will have to go to a family doctor or something like that in case you have a complication to the shot,” Gullatt said.

Gullatt said vaccines “play into” COVID-19 sick day policy.

“I talked to John (Guice) today, and he asked do we want to put something in here if a person denies the vaccine do we deny the (COVID-19 sick) days,” Gullatt said.

Kelly said to be careful about policy mandates.

“I think you should talk to your local doctor about it,” Kelly said. “I would be leery about putting a mandate in the policy because you get into a gray area.”

In another matter, School Board members will hear from auditors of Postlethwaite & Netterville of Baton Rouge via Zoom in their next agenda meeting scheduled for Jan. 25

“With my discussions (with auditors), it is a good audit,” Gullatt said. “Nothing is going to jump out or scare you.”

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