By Cristin Ross

Rusk Independent School District is doing its best to make sure students are healthy and safe when they’re at school, officials say.

RISD trustees heard a report from Kathleen Glidewell, the district’s Special Programs director, and Becky Blankinship, Rusk Intermediate School nurse, Monday night during the regular board meeting. The pair reviewed the district’s emergency preparedness and programs that are keeping students healthy — mentally and physically.

“This is really a work in progress each year,” Glidewell told board members of safety measures. “We’re always updating our information. We’re pleased to report there have been no violent incidents on any of our campuses to date.”

Information updated this year, according to Glidewell, included each campus’ emergency evacuation plan; flip charts on general emergency procedures like first aid, CPR and the Heimlich maneuver; the school’s phone tree lists; and providing maps on each campus illustrating each building’s evacuation routes.

“We conduct nine drills minimum a year,” Glidewell said. “We’re starting to also implement off-campus drills for a campus each semester.

“The first one was held recently at the intermediate campus, who volunteered to do the first one,” Glidewell continued. “It really went very, very well.”

Glidewell also reported the district installed 10 new security cameras throughout the district and all five RISD campuses now have weather radios.

Blankinship reported to trustees the RISD Web site has been updated with information on the district’s pandemic outbreak plans.

“We’ve worked very closely with the (Cherokee County) Health Department to be ready for an outbreak, should there be one,” Blankinship said.

Rusk officials routinely screen students for vision and hearing problems and scoliosis, Blankinship said, and staff members are taught how to administer CPR and other first aid procedures.

“We also have asthma and diabetes programs for the kids that have those,” Blankinship said.

Blankinship and other school health officials also gave more than 100 children’s flu vaccines to Rusk students recently.

“We’re pleased with the response to the clinics,” Blankinship said. “A lot of the parents thanked us for providing that.”

RISD Superintendent Jim Largent thanked the pair for their reports.

“We appreciate the excellent job you’re both doing,” he said.

In other business, RISD board members approved the district’s annual audit, done by Robinson and Payne Auditors. Robinson and Payne issued “a clean opinion” for the district’s financial reports this year.

The report indicated the district’s net assets are up by $1.1 million.

The Rusk Independent School District meets at 6 p.m. every first Monday of the month, unless otherwise posted, at the Administration office, 203 E. Seventh St., Rusk. The public is welcome.

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