Webster County Board of Education met in a work session on Monday night, with several guests and one board member joining electronically through a meeting hosted by Zoom.

Topping the agenda was a discussion of the school’s Cyber Security Insurance with Mike Hazelwood of EM Ford Insurance Company. Currently the school has a $250,000 plan that covers loses due to a cyber security breach, which is an add-on to the school’s liability insurance.

“You’re a repository for so much information on the people who have gone through your district over the last 50 years,” said Hazelwood. “If you were to have a security breach, it could result in tremendous cost.”

He explained that in the event of a security breach, the district would be required to automatically contact every student, graduate, former employee and current employee who had information that was potentially compromised. The estimated cost of that was around $12 per person.

“I just don’t think that $250,000 is enough, especially with your potential exposure growing exponentially,” he said.

District technology director Mike Stone agreed.

“There is so much more to it,” Stone said. “I think we have to take a look at it. A breach is costly, and not only just money, but in time.”

He explained that even after notifying those affected by the breach, the district would still have to report to the Attorney General, the Kentucky Department of Education and both state and local law enforcement.

“As our system develops, we’re getting more and more information on students,” said board member Cameron Brown. “That includes medical information. And none of that information ever leaves our system.”

Hazelwood offered to help personalize a plan that would fit the district’s needs.

The board agreed to hear proposals from EM Ford at a later date.

The board also reviewed proposed changes to the district’s employee evaluation schedule. Normally the spring semester is filled with evaluations that help the district determine the future for many non-tenured employees, but those evaluations haven’t happened due to the COVID-19 closure.

Members are expected to vote on the changes at the next board meeting. Those changes will only affect the current school year. Next year things will return to the regular evaluation plan.

Superintendent Rhonda Callaway reported that commissioner of education Kevin Brown had reached out to districts requesting personal protective equipment (PPE). She said Webster County had managed to pull together 109 pairs of goggles, 53 pairs of safety glasses, 200 aprons, 800 pairs of gloves and 106 masks. These items were delivered to the Kentucky State Police Post 2 in Madisonville.

She said the district would be reimbursed for all of the donated items.

Callaway also discussed the future of Link2Learn, Webster County’s version of non-traditional instruction, the process that allows schools to be credited for school days when students are not in school.

“After 15 Link2Learn days in a row, we’ve decided to make some adjustments,” she reported.

While she praised the job that both students and teachers have been doing, Callaway said that it was clear some changes needed to be made.

She mentioned one case in which a dedicated student had been working on school work from the time she got up until as late as 6:00 p.m. In another situation, a family had a teacher and multiple students in the house, but lacked the internet speed to allow them all to do their work at the same time.

One of the biggest changes to the Link2Learn format will be focusing each day on one subject, across the board.

“If its math day on Tuesday, it will be math day for elementary, middle school and high school students,” Callaway explained. “We’re asking parents to be teachers right now. This will give them a little structure.”

Mike Stone told board members that he was also discussing the potential of making internet available in areas of the county where both teachers and students lacked good internet connections. He was scheduled to meet with a company that provided WiFi units or internet hot spots for busses.

He explained that Henderson had already taken similar steps, adding hot spots to busses and parking them around the community. Individuals need a password to log onto the system, and the district controls what sites users cannot visit.

Stone is expected to have a report on the meeting at the next board meeting, scheduled for Monday, April 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Contact Matt Hughes at matt@journalenterprise.com or 270-667-2069