Lisbon schools plan ‘we miss you’ parade

LISBON — The school district is holding a parade of sorts today to show students how much they have missed them since schools were closed more than three weeks ago because of the COVID-19 virus.

Superintendent Joseph Siefke reported at Thursday school board meeting teachers, bus drivers and custodians will drive around town and through neighborhoods this morning in their personal vehicles in a show of appreciation and affection.

Participants will assemble at 10 a.m. at the high school and wend their way through village streets as they try to hit every neighborhood. Siefke said those parents who live outside of town are welcome to park in the high school lot and watch.

“We’re just going to make our way along this route and wish our people a happy Easter,” he said.

Teachers as well as custodians and bus drivers miss seeing the students after schools were ordered closed nearly a month ago to prevent the spread of the virus. Siefke said they wanted to do something to let the students know they were missed while still following social distancing protocol. While teachers can see their students online, it’s not the same thing, which is how they came up with the idea of a vehicle parade.

Leading the parade will be village police officer Tab Bailey, who also serves as the school resource officer. Officials decided on today because there are no classes since it is Good Friday.

“We’re just trying to bring some normalcy to their lives,” Siefke said.

In other business, the school administration is holding on to hope it can still salvage some major senior activities for the Class of 2020, but whether that can happen depends on the governor.

The issue was raised by board president Gene Gallo, who said he was unsure about what events and activities were canceled based on information put out by the school district.

Siefke said they have obviously been forced to cancel almost every activity since schools are closed until May 1. But when it came to the prom, senior day and the graduation ceremony, he merely postponed those activities.

He is hopeful they will be able to hold these events so the graduating class will be able to salvage something from its senior year. Whether Lisbon can still hold those events in a timely manner, or at all, will depend on whether Gov. Mike DeWine extends the current order beyond May 1.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday canceled the rest of the 2019-2020 school year in that state.

In other business, the board agreed as expected to trim Easter vacation from six days to two, with the extra four days used to end the school year sooner. This was done with the consent of the teachers union.

The school was to be on Easter break starting April 10, with classes resuming April 20. Now, classes will resume on April 14. The school year will now be shortened by four days, with May 22 being the last day for classes.

Administrators and teachers from each school told the board they were pleased with how the remote distance learning that was developed and implemented pretty much on the fly was working out. They said teachers and students have adapted to online learning through the use of several platforms.

All of them said Facebook has been an invaluable tool in communicating with parents and allowing them to keep track of what work their children are supposed be doing.

Those few without internet service or who are having trouble with their online studies can obtain packets of school work to do by hand. Some of the course work for elementary school students is being done in the form of packets.

Board member Gary Peruchetti said these were difficult times. “I appreciate all of the work you’re doing away from school,” he said,

Board member TK Hiscox agreed. “Hopefully, this isn’t the new normal,” he said.

Like other government boards, the meeting was held electronically by way of a video conferencing program.



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