The Delaware City Schools Board of Education discussed the first two weeks of school and reported no COVID-19 cases within the district during its meeting Monday.
The regular meeting was held in the board room at Willis Education Center and live-streamed for the public.
The district noted its COVID-19 reporting site is active at https://www.dcs.k12.oh.us/Page/5791 and reported there were no active staff or student cases.
Superintendent Heidi Kegley read a statement from the Delaware City Teachers Association, which praised teachers for rising to the occasion and added the beginning of the school year has been “interesting.”
“Our DCS teachers have gone above and beyond to help make the start of the school year get off to the best start possible. They work tirelessly to make sure all protocols are being implemented,” said DCTA Co-Presidents Kim Becker and PJ Terry. “DCS teachers truly are amazing.”
The letter goes on to state blended learning is “going well,” adding it even has some benefits.
“Smaller classes are allowing teachers to get to know their students better than any previous years,” the letter states. “They are also able to provide more one-on-one with students as needed. Students are glad to be back and have shown growth over the last couple of weeks. Overall, it’s been a safe start for the blended learning model.”
The DCTA did note that teachers in the online-only academy have been “struggling” without a learning platform after Delaware terminated its agreement with Acellus just before the start of the school year.
“We know that (ending the contract with Acellus) caused our families and our teachers to be in a very difficult position to start the school year,” Kegley said.
She added the district has chosen two new learning platforms to use for the rest of the year: Accelerate Education for K-5 students and Edmentum for grades sixth through 12th.
Kegley said there will be professional develop coming up for teachers to help them learn the new programs.
Student board member Mackenzie Collett updated the board on how the return of school has gone at Hayes High School, where a number of changes, including one-way hallways and isolated lunches, have been implemented.
“So far the transition back to school has gone smoothly,” Collett said, adding her schoolmates have been pleased that the online learning portions of their classes have been better organized than they were in spring. “Staff members are doing an excellent job at responding to students’ questions and emails, especially in days they aren’t in school.”
Collett said students and staff at Hayes observing safety protocols are are ” doing a good job of wearing their masks and maintaining social distancing.”
“Overall, the start back to school has gone very well, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the rest of the school year plays out,” Collett said.
She added one downside of the changes is that students now sit by themselves at a single lunch table instead of with friends, but it’s actually a positive for some students.
“They are also finding they are doing work during lunch…” Collett said. “A lot of students are finding it to be a productive time, especially since they get to take off their mask for a little bit, but they feel safe because they are social distanced… Students have said it is worth it to be back at school.”
The board also approved a number of resignations at the meeting, including Shari Beard, a School Aged Child Care (SACC) assistant manager; Misti Bills, a SACC program assistant; Denise Cross, an educational assistant at Dempsey Middle School; Tammy DeBarr, a bus driver and custodian at Hayes; Jimmie Green, a bus driver; Margaret Hunt, a cook/cashier at Hayes; Abigail Lewis, a SACC program assistant; Morgan Lisenbee, a SACC program assistant; Kari Newsome, an educational assistant at Conger Elementary School; Natalie Schulte, a SACC program assistant; and Deb Wright, a SACC program assistant.
The board approved the retirements of Debra Weiser, a cook at Hayes, and Kirt Cowgill, a custodian at Hayes.
Several employments were approved by the board, including Mary McNamara, an intervention specialist at Hayes; Shari Beard, who will now serve as an educational assistant at Conger; Katrina Butler, a cook/cashier at Dempsey, Maggie Cain, an educational assistant at Conger; Paul Hannigan, a bus driver; Debbie Johnson, a bus driver; Erik Link; a bus driver; Angela Majka; a cook/cashier; Ashley Miller, a SACC program assistant at Willis Education Center; Natalie Schulte; a SACC program assistant; and Deb Wright; a SACC program assistant.
The board will meet next at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at Willis.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.