WAMEGO , March 16 – Classified, or hourly, employees of USD 320 will be paid during the COVID-19 emergency, due to actions taken by the Board of Education tonight.

The measure includes the Special Services Co-op who may serve at Rock Creek or Wabaunsee, as they are also USD 320 employees.

The issue was first brought up at the special meeting held Sunday, where the outcome was closing of all Wamego schools for this week.

“We went with what was currently in policy yesterday,” said Superintendent Tim Winter. “We had a lot of discussion on that. Sheryl (Wohler, board member) sent an e-mail asking for information.”

He added that there is legislation from the state and/or federal government which might also help. Winter also noted the salaries were already in the 2019-2020 budget.

“I think it's being able to give some comfort and peace of mind to those people,” he said. “I'd like you to approve that. Payroll for this week is for the past month, so people will be getting paid. It's not a huge impact until next month, when the next paycheck is coming.”

“I agree,” said Cory Meyer, board president. “I support it. We can't deal with may come down the road, but we can take care of our people now.”

“I recognized it's inherently unfair to those who have to work,” Wohler added. “But we can't have people wondering what their next paycheck will look like.”

The board voted 6-0, Deb Long being absent, to authorize Winter to pay the classified staff on a week-to-week basis (reflecting the possibility of aid) throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

In other discussion relating to COVID-19, Winter admitted it doesn't look like school will be back any time soon. “We have to be prepared for the long haul.” The district, along with the state will be looking at other learning platforms.

A special meeting was scheduled for 7 a.m., Friday, for board members to decide about additional closure. In asking for the meeting, Winter noted, “I don't know if I want it any sooner. Between now and then, the decision might be made for us.”

Editor's Note: Additional reporting from tonight's meeting will be in this week's Times printed edition.

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