DAVIDSON COUNTY — Two new positions were approved by Davidson County Board of Commissioners this week to work in supporting school staff to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davidson County Health Director Lillian Koontz was granted a request for two office support positions after the health department received $115,000 from North Carolina Division of Public Health. The funding will create temporary positions for public health liaisons to help with the coordination of COVID-19 screening, testing and vaccine administration efforts and to coordinate other health services for the 2021-22 school year.

“We think that these two positions could help our schools with the COVID-19 crisis,” Koontz said. “They would work directly with the schools and under the school nurse supervisor at the health department.”

Funds will be used for salaries and benefits, as well as computer equipment, telephones, travel costs, postage cost for mailings and printing cost of required forms. No county match is required and all unused funds will revert back to the state.

According to Koontz, two of the three school systems in Davidson County have elected to onboard testing independent of the health department.

These short-term positions would be effective through the end of the school year. Commissioner Steve Shell asked Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Cate Gentry, who was in attendance at the regular September meeting, whether the school systems were in favor of the request.

“They’re on board with any help that we can get,” Gentry said.

Also during the meeting, a land water conservation grant application totaling $1.1 million was approved for three playgrounds, five environmental gardens and site amenities. The state is administering the grant on behalf of the federal government, which would contribute $500,000 should the county be approved. It would then contribute $600,000 in matching funds.

“A lot of the citizens don’t know the things we have planned out there and just how big of a destination this is going to be historically,” Commissioner Chris Elliott said. “My kids and grandkids are going to be able to go look at this stuff. … Kids and families need places they can go. We have a beautiful county, and we have a lot to offer.”

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.