Approaching the New School Year and Elementary Progress Highlight School Board Meeting
By Thad Requet
The Shelby County R-IV School Board received an update on the elementary school and discussed COVID-19 back to school plans during its regular July meeting on Wednesday, July 8 in the middle school library.
Shelby County R-IV superintendent Troy Clawson, in his first meeting, said he is off to a good start so far. He said everyone has been very helpful to him.
Clawson said they have been working with Hilliard to get some cleaning supplies to focus on COVID-19.
The district has about $200,000 that it has received in funds to be spent on COVID-19. He said they are looking at two new floor machines for the high school building and the elementary building. He said the old machines will be put in a surplus auction.
They are looking at hand sanitizer stations. Clawson said there could be more stuff from Hilliard as things move forward.
They could use COVID funds for software and nursing supplies.
He said they are looking at putting in a door to the middle school nurses office from the hallway to help thin down some traffic in the office.
The remaining COVID funds will go toward technology. Make sure Chrome books are up to speed.
He mentioned they have planned a walk through tour in August for the high school and the elementary school as well as outside facilities.
He said he would also like to talk to the board about paperless board meetings.
South Shelby Elementary Principal Katie Stueve said they talked to County Health Director Audrey Gough about how to approach the school year. She also talked about what a great job the custodians have done at the three locations. Stueve also mentioned the work they did on preparing for Prom.
She also mentioned the work the secretaries have done placing orders and getting things ready for teachers.
She said staff is excited about the new elementary.
South Shelby Middle School Principal Curt Bowen reported that students and coaches are back in the buildings. He said it’s good to see those faces back.
The majority of the big summer maintenance work is done. They have some hallways to take care of and some painting. They are ahead of schedule and looking to do some things that needs to be done.
Bus Barn Mechanic Darron Schrum passed his test and is now a State Inspector.
Bowen noted they are upgrading the bus barn and the wash bay. He also talked about the air-conditioned bus the district recently purchased. He said it cranks out the cool air.
He was asked what the bus routes look like. Bowen said they are not all set at this time but it looks like things are going to work out fine. The routes are coming together. He said they may have to add one route.
Clawson said they are going to try to make a few extra stops in town to allow kids shorter walks, and make it more user friendly.
South Shelby High School Principal Tim Maddex said that Prom went great and the Grand March worked out really well.
He also noted that in July they can start downloading qualifications for those who qualify for free or reduced lunch. Maddex said that after the first download, 30 percent of the students in the district qualify.
Michael Purol was on hand to give an update on the elementary school.
He noted that back in the beginning they came in over budget and stripped out a lot of things from the project to get back within the budget. They issued one large change order that added some of the needs for the project. It included several items from the original bid that were needs. They put those back in and were able to stay on budget. He said they are looking at other items they can put back in.
He talked about a large change order to do work on the north drive. They are going to add base rock and build that area up.
They ended up needing a little more framing in a mechanical room to hang ductwork. There was also a change order for additional lighting.
Purol also noted a budgetary number for the lagoon updates. They are waiting from word from DNR before they go out for bids.
They talked about the City of Shelbina going after a grant in an engineering report if the grant is still available.
Scott Gough asked if Purol recommended bidding the project even though they might not put it in right away. Purol said that would be his recommendation.
The permit does include disinfection next summer. This would put the district in line to hit those goals. Purol said they have some unknowns right now with the government. He said that’s why he wouldn’t rely too much on that grant. They’ve got a plan A, and if they can get a plan B that will even be better. The City of Shelbina would apply for the State funded grant.
As for the building schedule, Purol said they are not where they would like to be. The masonry put people behind. He said a lot of things have to fall in place. He did say the critical path items are on pace, but they don’t have a week to waste. He did note that site work needs to be done.
Hopefully dry weather will allow that. Electrical prime is set to be turned on Thursday. That ties into getting the floor down and then getting classroom furniture into the rooms. Some items they are ahead of schedule including lighting and trim work.
As for the pre-cast panels color, the fabricator was linked in on day one. They have been down and washed the panels. They dried and they are still not satisfied with the color. Purol is waiting on plan B which he anticipates being a stain or paint. The stain may not be uniform, it will be better than now. Paint will be uniform, but will require future maintenance.
The board approved the building payments as presented.
It approved a $584,151.20 payment to the contractor.
Approve Change Orders
The board approved five different change order for $7,284, $22,695, $8,921, $4,354 and $2,428 pertaining to the elementary project.
Mark Twain Agreement
Clawson said they have had some internal discussions about what to do with the Mark Twain agreement. He talked with Marion County and Monroe City’s Superintendents. Mark Twain gave us $50,000 up front and agreed to give another $72,000 over the next 20 years.
Clawson said what they are offering is about $3,000 more than what the initial contract is.
Clawson said he feels they should hold on to it for now. He feels there is more value in it in what they are offering.
Maddex said David Hayes thinks they are trying to get these and sell them to a major cell phone company.
The other schools are also going to hold off for right now.
Student/Parent, Faculty & Athletic Handbooks
Bowen went over changes to the middle school handbooks. He said there was nothing major.
One of the changes was that hoods aren’t to be worn in the classroom.
Stueve went over elementary handbooks. She noted a couple of updates Maddex went over the high school handbook changes.
Faculty & Staff
Board President Jim Foster explained the Faculty and Staff Barbecue to Clawson and new board members. In the past the board and superintendent have grilled a meal. Last year they had it catered and Gough said it worked much better that way. They also switched it from the evening to during professional development day that takes place before the start of school.
A motion was approved to have a faculty/staff meal during a professional development day.
Preliminary Plan for Reopening
Clawson said they are planning to have school as traditional as possible. “We will see what will develop in the next month. We want to make this readily available to the parents. They can see it now, but it may change a lot in the next few weeks,” he said. They will have three phases; 1).Green - Low to no spread; 2). Yellow - Moderate; 3). Red - Substantial which will probably result in online classes.
They are getting two more floor machines to speed that process up to get on to other things. This will be taxing on the custodians and the staff.
He said they had a positive meeting with Audrey Gough and she is wanting them to get started also.
One of the topics is facemasks. Our initial thought is to not make that a requirement, but it could be a requirement in a month,” Clawson said.
Stueve said that temperature checks may not be completely accurate. Some people can be medicated before they come to school.
Maddex said 100.4 is the cutoff for sending someone home.
Clawson said a lot of it needs to be determined on what’s going on in the community.
Gough said his concern as a board member is to not have the school be the spider web that spreads the virus through the community.
Foster said it’s no different than any other bug. We just have a nastier bug. He said one way to help this is to reduce stress.
Eleazarraraz asked about the isolation room that was mentioned in the plan. They talked about isolation curtains for the nurses office. As soon as that kid leaves the nurses office, that room would be sanitized.
Clawson said he felt people were caught off guard in March. He said we will be better prepared for distant learning this fall.
Stueve said they are working on an Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) plan for the State.
Foster asked about if they will pick up where they left off in March. Clawson said he thinks it will depend on the class. He said he feels there are a lot of teach and re-teach anyway.
Gough asked about the sports side of things. Who is going to make the call if they are going to play a team that is in the yellow. He asked if MSHSAA is going to make those decisions.
Maddex said that MSHSAA isn’t deciding anything. It was commented that MSHSAA and DESE have both stayed out of things.
Maddex said Illinois is only allowing 20 percent of capacity. Missouri doesn’t have that now, but it could be a possibility.
Clawson said getting officials could be a major issue.
Eleazarraraz asked what classroom tools could be converted to digital and eliminate paper.
Maddex said some kids don’t have Internet and others don’t have fast enough speed. An all digital format is not feasible, but they will try to use Google as much as they can.
Some schools have left packets at the doorstep of families with elementary students.
Gough asked about using the elementary buildings in Shelbina and Clarence to go to and social distance and get work done.
Foster feels the administration has done a good job with this and is taking a common sense approach.
If parents are afraid to send their kids to school, there are some virtual options.
The board approved a motion to move the resignation to closed session.
In other news the board:
*approved the agenda as presented.
*approved the consent items
*approved the current month’s bills.
*heard program and data reports.
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