The Delaware City Schools Board of Education discussed the district’s plans in case of a local outbreak of the coronavirus during its regular meeting Monday night.
Superintendent Heidi Kegley brought attention to the subject at the board’s request, stating the district is working closely with local health officials to monitor the virus.
“We, throughout the year and in years past, have a positive relationship with Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Delaware General Health District,” Kegley said. “We’ve participated in several scenario trainings, and those are opportunities to build partnerships with those community partners prior to us having a situation.”
Kegley said that three months ago, she took part in a health district training that discussed the lessons that could be learned from the H1N1 outbreak.
“It’s about really understanding what we’re looking at as a district,” Kegley said. “We’ll be reviewing staffing procedures, clinic procedures, and then as well, looking at what would that worst-case scenario look like. But we are not there yet.”
Kegley added the district has been gathering information from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), and the heads of the Delaware County school districts will be meeting this week to discuss the subject.
After speaking with the board, Kegley said the district is “doing all the things we do during a normal flu season,” including encouraging students to thoroughly wash their hands and regularly cleaning the facilities and buses. Kegley said staff spent last Thursday’s snow day doing cleaning around the district.
Kegley added the decision to close school due to the virus would be based on what the district hears from the school district, and it would be based on the number of staff who are sick. Jennifer Ruhe, head of communications for the district, said the state of Ohio would mandate when all schools must close in the event of an outbreak.
“We have lots of questions, but we want to make sure we are preventative, proactive, and focused on facts,” Kegley said. “There’s a lot of information out there, but we want to make sure we are focused on facts. We continue to work as a team, as we do with anything”
The Delaware General Health District has set up a special page on its website — https://delawarehealth.org/covid-19/ — with information about the virus, and the district is encouraging residents to take the following preventative measures: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Don’t go to work or school when you feel ill; Stay at home and rest; Avoid exposure to others who are sick; Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system; and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The board also approved the purchase of three new school buses at a total cost of $303,432. Jason Sherman, head of transportation and facilities, said two of the buses are traditional 78-passenger propane buses that will serve as two additional routes to the Delaware Area Career Center, and the other bus, a 48-passenger bus with a chair lift, will serve as a replacement special needs bus. Sherman added the buses will be built and brought to the district this summer.
Additionally, the board was asked by TRIAD Architects to pick a color for the bricks for the new south-facing doors that will be built at Schultz Elementary School when the new wing is added. The board narrowed the choice to a shade of gray and a shade of blue. The board asked the architects to consult with Travis Woodworth, the principal at Schultz, before a final decision is made.
The board also approved a number of staffing changes, including the retirement of Susan Flahive, a second grade teacher at Schultz, as well as the resignations of Lyda Schilling, a fifth grade teacher at Schultz; Natalee Christman, a member of the summer work crew at Willis Education Center; and Carolyn Porter, a cook-cashier at Willis.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.