The Delaware City Schools Board of Education on Monday discussed the first nine weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, the extension of free meals for students, and approved a resolution related to unused funds from the cancelled 2020 Washington, D.C. trip.
Superintendent Heidi Kegley said the United States Department of Agriculture has extended the waivers it announced earlier this year, which provide free lunch and breakfast to any student in the district. Kegley said the meals aren’t just for students attending in-person classes, but they are also available for students on their at-home learning days and for students enrolled in the Delaware Online Academy. Meals are picked up at Willis Education Center, Kegley said.
The board also discussed the district’s current hybrid learning model, adding it will be continuing with the plan for the foreseeable future because they’ve seen success with it.
“We’re certainly on the right path with the measures we’re taking to keep our cases at a minimum here at the district,” Board President Matt Weller said. “But certainly if you look at the trend statewide and nationally, it doesn’t appear things are trending the way we want to see them. We would all love to be back to five-day in-person learning without any limitations, but I’m not sure the evidence supports that movement, at least in the near term.”
According to the State of Ohio, as of Oct. 15, Delaware City Schools has had a total of seven student cases and four staff cases.
“I think we will constantly look at that and assess it as we move forward, but I think we should stay the course (we’re on) at the moment,” Weller said.
Board members Jayna McDaniel-Browning and Ted Backus agreed.
“The measures we’ve taken are working,” McDaniel-Browning said. “Not that the danger has passed but what we’re doing is working here.”
Backus said families have stated that because the district is doing well, it’s time to loosen restrictions. He added the restrictions are the reason the school district has been able to keep the positive cases down.
“That’s why we’re doing so well, it’s because of those things,” Backus said. “Now is not the time to think about going back to a normal schedule … I believe what we’ve done is right, and we should continue maintaining that at this point.”
Kegley said the district is currently working to develop winter sports plans based on the successful fall sports plans.
“(Our) fall plans went very well,” she said. “We cannot thank our spectators, families, and our athletes and coaches enough for following all of the protocols.”
Kegley thanked Hayes High School Athletic Director Steve Glesenkamp and Dempsey Middle School Athletic Director Karla DeLong for working to develop the plans.
She added the district is also working to develop plans for the theater and music departments.
“We’re learning how to do things in unique and different ways but at the same time, continuing to highlight our students and our staff,” Kegley said.
In other matters, the board approved a motion regarding funds raised for the 2020 Dempsey Washington, D.C. trip, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. The motion allows for families with a balance from the fundraiser to choose between remitting the funds as taxable income, applying the funds to future school district lunch expenses, or families can choose to donate to a school district scholarship fund for trips and events. Failure to respond on behalf of the parents will result in the funds being donated.
The board also discussed the upcoming no-new tax 11.73-mill levy on the Nov. 3 ballot.
District Treasurer and CFO Melissa Swearingen said the passage of the levy is “critical for day-to-day operations” and said the funds from the levy are required to avoid a deficit.
“It is key to continuing the operations and quality programming we provide for our students each and every day in Delaware City Schools,” added Kegley.
The board also approved several staffing changes, including approving the resignation of Abbey Fields, an educational assistant at Conger Elementary School, and the retirement of Jodi Davidson, an art teacher at Schultz Elementary School.
The board will meet next at 6 p.m. Nov. 23.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.