SIDNEY – Plans to provide for the educational and nutritional needs of students during the schools closure due to the coronavirus topped the Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting Monday. Guidelines for remote learning and free daily meals are expected to be in place by the time students return from spring break next week.
Students were originally to return from spring break on March 25. Currently, the school is closed by governmental edict until April 3.
Superintendent Bob Humble said beginning March 25, families may access educational resources on the district’s website under the Covid-19 heading. He said the resources will be organized by grade level and subject.
He said the goal is to keep student’s skills fresh and not focus on new instruction. The information will be varied to ensure maximum engagement, he added. He also noted electronic and hard copy learning resources will be available.
The long-term plan beyond April 3 will include distributing Chromebooks to utilize the technology. A survey to student families is being distributed this week to determine who has internet access.
Humble reported Chromebooks will be distributed to students who need them and if needed, one T-Mobile Hotspot per household. For those who do not have internet service, they will receive copies of the work as requested.
The district was offered a plan that calls for $20 per Hotspot per month. The one-year deal allows unlimited access.
The superintendent said district teachers will have full remote learning in place by April 6.
Other information noted by Humble included:
• The curriculum team will utilize Google to create a shared space for grade level and content area teachers to create weekly learning outcomes with links to resources.
• The team will facilitate and lead grade level collaboration via Zoom Meetings to create weekly plans that will be organized and structured for easy access.
• Educators will tap into current digital platforms as well as new ones to engage students in a meaningful way.
Starting March 23, students on free or reduced meal plans will be given free breakfast and lunch on a daily basis at Whittier, Longfellow and Northwood elementary schools and the middle school. No child will be denied a meal even if they do not qualify for free/reduced meal plans, Humble reported.
If meal pickup is not possible, the district will deliver if a parent requests it. Parents need to complete an online survey or call 937-494-2006 to leave the name of their name, child’s name, and which school they wish to pick up from.
Board President Robert Smith asked Treasurer Michael Watkins if the district was facing any cost or saving from the shutdown.
Watkins said there would be no substitute teacher hiring or overtime pay. Fuel and bus maintenance was also noted as a savings.
The treasurer said the future of the type of teaching method and how it would be carried out was uncertain regarding costs.
By a 4-0 vote, the board hired Aaron Harris as a custodian effective immediately. He was hired at Step 5 at $17.30 per hour.
Board member Jason Schaffner was absent and given an excused absence.
The board also hired three classified substitutes. They include Anthony Cardo, cook, $10.34 per hour; Ashley Wilt, bus driver, $17.47 per hour; and Betty Snider, custodian, $14.39 per hour.
Other hirings include Macgreggor Allen, substitute teacher, $105 per day; Devin Stewart, varsity baseball assistant coach, $1,590 annually; and Kanavis Foy, assistant track coach, $2,187 annually.
The board also accepted the resignation of Dixy Carey, High Incident Aide, effective on June 1.
Also by unanimous vote, the board purchased the Bridges Math Curriculum Program for grades K-5 in the amount of $110,732.32.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.