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Danville School Board shortens school year; gives raises to ‘essential workers’

All classes in the Danville School District will be dismissed for the summer next week, which is a week and a half earlier than originally scheduled.

The board of education approved the 2019-2020 revised school calendar making Friday, May 8 the last day of Non-Traditional Instruction and the last day of school, during its meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The board also voted to temporarily increase the salaries for essential workers who are continuing to assist students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic by $3 an hour.

Superintendent Tammy McDonald said, “It’s amazing what they’re doing. We tremendously appreciate that.”

Food service and Family Resource and Youth Services Center employees “are actually coming in contact on a daily basis with the public,” McDonald said. They’re handing out meals to students and their families at the families’ homes. “They’re literally coming face to face with the public. They’re putting themselves in the higher risk category.

“I’m asking for those two areas only, to increase by $3 an hour for hours that are actually worked with that face-to-face contact with the public.” The pay raises will last from March 16 until the state of emergency is lifted, McDonald added.

Without any debate among board members, her request passed unanimously.

Board member Paul Smiley said, “I think it’s very reasonable. I think it’s the way to go.”

In other business, the board approved its NTI application for the 2020-21 school year. The board wanted to be prepared in case NTI days are needed for student instruction if the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t subsided by the beginning of the school year, or if another wave of the virus shuts down schools later in the year.

New start and stop times for the 2020-2021 school year were also set by the board during its meeting. Hogsett Primary and Toliver Intermediate schools will begin classes at 7:50 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m. John W. Bate Middle and Danville High School times will begin 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. All school buildings will be open 45 minutes before classes begin.