A full house was in attendance at the Carmi White County School Board meeting last night at the Junior/Senior High School Cafeteria as they discussed the District’s return to school plan.
First, President Andy Acord read a statement about the rules for holding the meeting. They will abide by the Governor’s guidelines on wearing masks and social distancing. No more than 50 people were allowed to be in the cafeteria.
Those members of the public that wanted to address the board on the state’s guidelines on schools were allowed to do so. Bill Chapman said there were detrimental effects on young children wearing masks in school according to research he learned from child psychologists. He gave statistics on how children wearing masks were negatively affected and asked the board not to make masks be required, but optional. He also asked them to stand up to the state on the matter and not give in.
Sheryl Woodham from the Guardian Center said she was afraid that for disadvantaged or abused children, masks may inhibit them and cause anxiety and wearing them should be an option.
Superintendent Brad Lee said their hands were tied on several of the guidelines by the state and there were some things the state refused to change, such as wearing masks, and the district could be held liable for not abiding by them or possibly could lose funding. He said the return to school plan is based off guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Health and the Egyptian Health Department. A transition team of district administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and representatives from the Egyptian Health Department and the White County Emergency Management Agency met to discuss and get feedback regarding a plan for returning to school.
Lee stressed the plan is intended to be a guide moving forward and anticipates changes to the plan as the guidance is subject to change. As more details are added they’ll be shared with students, parents and staff. Some requirements could change or be modified, which will affect the plan.
Dr. Amy Dixon said there will be enough students from K through 5 for online learning. 6th to 12th graders could possibly see a shortened school day. She also said there will be short breaks throughout the day to allow students to go outdoors without a mask on. Responding to a question from a speech therapist in the audience who said she needs to be able to understand her students and can’t if they’re wearing masks, Dixon said they have purchased clear masks for them. Dixon also said everyone is working hard to come up with the best possible working environment.
Brad Lee said there will be adjustments to food service, transportation, technology and extracurricular activities and that this is a starting point. He also said they all share a common goal of returning to school and keeping students and staff healthy while providing educational opportunities.
The board then approved the Return-To-School-Plan for 2020-21 based on current guidelines from the Board of Education and Department of Public Health.
In other business, the tentative Fiscal Year 2021 Budget was approved and placed on display for a minimum of 30 days and final action set for the September board meeting.
In the Superintendent’s report, Brad Lee noted with the opening of school only a month away, registration is scheduled for Thursday, August 6th. They will open up on-line registration the last week of July. August 13th and 14th will be teacher institute and work days. August 17th to the 19th will be utilized as remote planning days for staff. Students would begin either face-to-face or remote instruction on Thursday, August 20th. And there will be no 50-minute early dismissal this year.
The custodial staff has been thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the school buildings in preparation for the start of school and they have ordered extra supplies to increase their daily cleaning and disinfecting.
Brownsville principal Kathy Price gave an update on the playground project funded by the Brownsville School Foundation. She said the swings are up and the sidewalks on both sides of the building. They are also ordering sensory pieces for the swings.
School Resource Officer David Agee gave an update on his time as SRO. He thanked the board for providing him the ability to interact with the students. Agee also noted he was the fourth busiest police officer in the City of Carmi, but last in arrests. He’s only arrested four people, but only two of them were students. And he’s optimistic for the upcoming school year.
Total revenue for the month of June was $814,820, with $47,138 of that coming from the one percent sales tax.
The board went into closed session at 8:20 PM to discuss personnel.
During the closed session, the Board approved Connie Leggett as District Volunteer for the 2020-2021 school year.
Brittany McGarrh was reassigned to an RTI Aide at Washington Attendance Center for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Carrie Carpenter.
Kelsey Rankin was employed as an RTI Aide at Washington Attendance Center for the 2020-2021 school year.
Stacy Easley was employed as a Special Education Individual Aide at Washington Attendance Center for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Melissa Coniglione.
Kim Beals was employed as a Special Education Individual Aide at Washington Attendance Center for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the reassignment of Brittany McGarrh.
Kaylea Chappelle was approved by the Board as a Volunteer Junior High School Assistant Softball Coach for the 2020-2021 school year.
Justice Stubblefield was employed as the High School Freshman/Sophomore Boy’s Basketball Coach for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Will Knight.
Matt Sneed was employed as High School Boy’s Freshman/Sophomore Assistant Football Coach for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Marc Stendeback.
Chris Lucas was employed as the High School Head Volleyball Coach for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Penny Gunter.
Spud Egbert was approved as a Volunteer High School Assistant Football Coach for the 2020-2021 school year.
Thys Bax was approved as a Volunteer High School Assistant Cross County Coach for the 2020-2021 school year.
Patricia Trout was approved as a Volunteer High School Assistant Girl’s Tennis Coach for the 2020-2021 school year.