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Lisbon schools get $323K telemedicine grant

LISBON — Before the district announced its response to the school closing due to the COVID-19 virus, it was business as usual at Thursday’s school board meeting.

The big news of the night, which was obviously overshadowed by the events of the day, was the district had been awarded a $323,478 Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The program provides grants to encourage and improve telemedicine — medical services provided through the internet — and distance learning services in rural school districts through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies to be used by students, teachers and medical professionals, among others.

In Lisbon’s case, the grant will be used for equipment and to contract with various local agencies to provide online educational and medical services to students and staff. “It’s so we can provide these services without having to leave the building,” he said.

For example, Siefke can see instances where students can participate in virtual field trips of faraway places online thanks to the grant. He said if a student is having a medical issue at school, the school nurses could go online with a physician to seek help in determining what might be the problem.

“This will enhance what we’re already doing and give us more opportunity to link up with people outside the building” to improve educational

opportunities and medical assistance, he said. “It’s not going to replace face-to-face interaction but will supplement that.”

In other business, the board:

— Approved the 2020 graduating class pending completion of all requirements. Sixty-five students are currently on track to graduate in May, down from 68 last year.

— Agreed to continue using Youngstown State University in its College Credit Dual Plus Enrollment program. An agreement with Kent State University was renewed last month. Under the program, students can take college classes at either school, with the district paying the tuition and book costs.

— Hired the Ohio Floor Co. to perform summer maintenance on the main and auxiliary high school gym floors for $6,860.

— Hired DC Music of Calcutta to upgrade the sound system at McKinley Elementary School for $3,759.

— Hired Gatekeeper to provide 20 security cameras to be placed on five buses. The cost is $9,461, but a state safety grant is paying for $3,842 of the expense.

— Accepted a $540 donation from the Touchdown Club and $150 from Dave and Katherine Ward.

— Learned from McKinley Elementary School Principal Dan Kemats the Lisbon Presbyterian Church recently donated 75 vouchers for free student haircuts. He also reported representatives from the Soles for Love program were in to measure students for new shoes, and 30 have been served so far.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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