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Davenport schools hire COVID-19 specialist to take charge of logistics

"Everything we were doing needed some expertise on how to keep our kids safe."

DAVENPORT, Iowa — As school districts across the country put their "back-to-learning" plans in place, Davenport Community School District says they will hire one person as their COVID-19 specialist.  

In one month, Davenport students will go back to school part-time.  On Thursday morning, administrators met to discuss what signage to put in hallways and classrooms for students and staff to follow and maintain social distance.

"Everything we were doing needed some expertise on how to keep our kids safe," says Bill Schneden, Davenport Community Schools Associate Superintendent.

That's why the district says they need one person for the job.  

"A lot of times in education there are educators trying to fill rolls like ordering materials and things of that nature," says TJ Schneckloth, Director of Learning Supports. "So, having someone to specialize in that - it's critical."

The position was offered to Daniel Burlingame, a district employee who has been with Davenport Schools for 20 years. He's held custodial, maintenance, trades, and administrative positions. In the new role he would order masks, signs, and regulate water fountains to only fill water bottles.

"Every time we are at a meeting and we talk about changing a bus route, or changing a food service practice to be able to say "we need to do this"," Schneden explains. 

"A student at Davenport Central, they know that building inside and out," says Schneckloth. "But if this stairwell is only for going up and this stairwell is for going down, well that's brand new learning to them."

The district says they will officially hire the COVID-19 specialist on Monday.

Davenport students go back to school on August 24.