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Columbia Board of Education to reevaluate COVID-19 safety plan and raises for school bus drivers

CPS Administrative Building
Columbia Public Schools Administration Building

Watch the meeting replay in the player below.


At the Monday night board meeting, the Columbia Board of Education is set to review agenda items that include its COVID-19 safety plan and potential raises for school bus drivers.

COVID-19 Safety Plan

Columbia Public Schools is recommending the Board of Education extend the school district's coronavirus safety plan.

The extension recommendation to the return plan is based on Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood's report from late September, which outlines the need for the COVID-19 mitigation measures.

This includes the mandatory use of masks while indoors for both students and staff.

The school district said the goal of the safety plan is to provide an environment that is as safe as possible for its students and staff.

The current COVID-19 safety plan requires grades kindergarten through 5th grade to have stable groups and assigned seating in classrooms and the lunchroom.

CPS also encourages the coronavirus vaccine for anyone who is at least 12-years-old.

According to the CPS COVID-19 dashboard, the school district currently has 27 students testing positive for the virus. Eighteen of those students are in elementary school.

Elementary school students are currently not eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.

The school board is taking public comment online in their meeting agenda on the review and possible extension of the COVID-19 safety plan.

Raises for STA Drivers

On the meeting agenda, the administration is asking the Board of Education to amend a current contract agreement that would give STA drivers a pay increase.

The school district said the pay increase is necessary because of due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the job market.

CPD said the pay increase would help recruit and keep current drivers.

Nationally and locally, school bus drivers are in high demand.

The administration is recommending a pay increase of 8% which equates to $2 per hour for full-time drivers and monitors. This would cost the district an additional $800,000, which would be covered by the transportation operating budget.

Other agenda items include the management of summer school programs, resurfacing of the Mill Creek Elementary School playground, and a mental health services agreement with Burrell Behavioral Health to increase mental health services for students.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday night.

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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.


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