Face masks, football attendance discussed

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

NEW BREMEN – At the New Bremen Board of Education meeting Aug. 19, they heard information about face masks, who will be able to attend football games, a remote learning plan and the newly re-designed school website.

Superintendent Jason Schrader said he was going to look at the face mask order and put something together later in the week. He said there may be an update to the face mask policy and so the board may have to reconvene later in the month to consider the changes.

Current face mask policy as posted on the school’s website concerning start up plans say students in grades 3-12 are strongly encouraged to wear masks and that this will be a parental decision. Staff are to wear masks unless it seriously impedes the educational process. However, Gov. Mike DeWine has since mandated that all students — K-12 — must wear a mask or face covering.

Athletic Director Chad Wells said they are still evaluating who can watch football games. The next scheduled varsity football home game is set for Aug. 28 against Minster.

Schrader said he had resubmitted a Remote Learning Plan that would be used in case the school is shut down due to a COVID outbreak. He said since it was a multi-page, broadly worded general plan, he had submitted a copy to the Board members through their school web page. He said that in July he had originally submitted a plan for a blended schedule.

The superintendent also reported Technology Director Brian Puthoff has updated the new school website. Schrader added a newsletter describing the new site as well as other information, should be in parents’ mailboxes by Friday of this week.

Junior/Senior High School Principal Marcus Overman reported the Washington D.C. trip had been canceled and he hoped to have more information for parents on refunds in the near future. He added that K&K Tours provided two options which were to either reschedule the tour in the Spring, with the downside being all money paid would be lost. The other option was to cancel the trip entirely and only the initial down payment of $175 would be lost.

Overman also said K&K also told him they were not scheduling any new trips for the 2021 school year, so he is seeking a different provider.

He said he had a one-hour meeting with grades 7 to 12 staff to discuss the start of the school year and also COVID related items. He said the meeting seemed to ease some teacher anxiety.

Thirty-five students are signed up for Tri-Star classes that will begin Aug. 26. Overman said even if schools go to remote learning, they will continue with traditional classes because they are a career center.

K-6 Principal Diane Kramer reported the last two months have been spent on the new elementary building project and while the building is not completely finished, students and staff will be welcomed in a beautiful new building.

She said she and her staff are finalizing plans to meet the requirements for both in-person learning as well as remote learning. In grades K-6, they have five students opting for remote learning to start the school year. The rest of the students will be attending in-person.

She said all reading teachers and grades K-6 have been participating in a book study over “Equipped for Reading Success” by David Kilpatrick. This is a comprehensive, step-by-step program for developing phonemic awareness and fluent word recognition. She said they plan to have the book completed for the start of the school year so teachers can begin with assessing students in September.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 8 p.m. fifth-grade students and parents will have a meeting administrators and staff to issue Chromebooks and learn about the various options for fifth-grade band from music teacher Rachel Wrobbel and the band staff. Due to the pandemic, they were unable to have fifth-grade band orientation in the spring.

Meet the Teacher Night will be held virtually this year. Each teacher will be recording a brief video welcoming students and showing them their new classroom. Shannon Heckman will be compiling the videos to share on our school website and social media.

Kindergarten orientation will be held as the start of the school year. Kramer said they will be staggering the start of the kindergarten school year with the first day for all kindergarten students being Friday, Sept. 18.

Current K-6 enrollment for the start of the 2020-2021 school year is kindergarten, 62 , first grade, 56, second grade, 57, third grade, 52, fourth grade, 58, fifth grade, 55, and sixth grade, 63.

The board approved Treasurer Jill Ahlers’ recommendations to pay general fund bills of $110,074.25, payment of the Buschur Electric invoice dated July 29, 2020, totaling $19,283 for football field lights, the payment to K12 Services LLC invoice dated July 1, 2020, and totaling $1,560 for the annual SPS subscription.

The board also accepted an anonymous donation of $10,000.

Four were hired as mentor teachers. They are Patty Ruckman, Polly Rodgers, Randy Trentman and Tanya Homan.

Finally, the board learned the district will not be offering middle school career technical programming to seventh graders during the 2020-21 school year due to funding and space limitations, space limits as well as time constraints.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.