DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Picnic tables are coming to Durham Public Schools. In its first meeting of the year, the DPS board unanimously approved the purchase of 650 picnic tables.
Dr. Julius Monk, Deputy Superintendent of Operational Services at DPS, said each school will receive about 12 tables. He said they’re expected to come in mid-October.
One board member asked why they weren’t ordered months ago. Monk said that when the district looked at this last spring the ESSER funding wasn’t available.
He said the district will use those emergency relief funds to cover the approximately $410,000 purchase.
The board is encouraging outdoor eating, but it’s not a requirement. Classrooms are also being used in some schools for lunch.
Several parents submitted public comments to the board expressing their desire for outdoor lunch and other outdoor meals. According to the district, out of the schools that responded to its survey, more than 75% of schools are already eating outside.
Cherese Infinito is a parent of an 8th and 10th grader in Durham Public Schools. She said her children have already been eating outside for the past couple of days.
“It’d be great, but I also think they have to take into consideration the heat, and provide some shade,” Infinito said.
Tents for shade have not been ordered yet. Monk said the district is looking for tent contracts and expects to present that to the board in two weeks.
The board also received an update on air filters in schools.
As of Monday, all filters have been replaced and all coils have received enhanced cleaning, according to a presentation at the board meeting. Schools received MERV 13 filters last winter.
According to DPS’s website, there were 15 new positive COVID-19 cases last week, before most students were back in class.
CBS 17 asked the district if there have been any COVID-19 cases since the traditional school year began on Tuesday. The district’s chief communications officer responded by saying the dashboard is updated every Monday. He does not anticipate it will be updated more frequently.