SL school opening plans discussed

SALINEVILLE – As students and faculty prepare for a unique-looking school year due to COVID-19, Superintendent Tom Cunningham updated the school board on some of the strategies that Southern Local Schools are implementing at Tuesday’s meeting.

While the administrative staff is still fine-tuning some details of what the back-to-school plans look like, Cunningham believes that the district will set itself apart in terms of what teachers are able to provide for students.

With the permission of the board, Cunningham laid out a plan with two paths, including five-day face-to-face learning and remote learning. He is confident that engagement between students and teachers will be very effective in the remote learning option.

“Any student that chooses that remote learning will be engaged with that teacher as well with support in uploading videos and lessons and those types of things,” Cunningham said. “I just can’t thank our teachers and staff enough for working on that, and they’ve done a great job.”

The plans are continuously reviewed in an ever-changing landscape, and the district will release its official plans after hosting a public session on Wednesday. In terms of some of the safety protocols and procedures, the district plans on accommodating students in multiple ways.

Cunningham said they are planning to have sanitizing stations in the classrooms, hallways and cafeteria. They are also in talks with outside sources to provide an extra layer of cleansing in the rooms and cafeteria.

“We want to make sure we have the cleanest, healthiest building we can have,” Cunningham said. “It will be a different year, but we’re looking forward to getting our students and staff back to some normalcy.”

Every student and staff member will receive masks and face shields. The high school has also installed a scanner at the entrance of the school that scans for temperature and can tell whether the person entering has a mask on. If a student doesn’t have a mask on, it tells them to put their mask on.

The board also approved the revised calendar, which moves back the student start date to Sept. 8.

“I think this will help us out and give us a little more time to plan for the school year in many aspects,” Cunningham said. “Also, we can see what some other districts may go through so we can make changes and adjustments. But I think it’s a good decision for our health and education system.”

In other news, after treasurer Greg Sabbato recommended that the district change to K-12 Consulting as their five-year forecast vendor, the board approved. Previously using Forecast Five for the past year, Sabbato felt as though there was a lot of data-driven searches that they didn’t use a lot.

“We found that a lot of analytics, we could get ourselves,” Sabbato said. “We felt that it was a switch that made sense for us logistically and financially.”

Going from Five Year to K-12 Consulting saved the district 40 percent. The next board of education meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15.



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