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One slip puts East Palestine school staffer in quarantine

EAST PALESTINE — Despite school being open for in-person instruction, the concern about the coronavirus remains.

Superintendent Chris Neifer reported at Monday’s school board meeting that there have been six positive Covid cases in the two weeks. One staff member has been quarantined although none have shown severe symptoms,

Neifer explained that the cases stemmed from one event where protocols were not followed. Neifer emphasized that while the district followed protocols, the cases arose from an extracurricular practice where groups were getting together. Neifer said this is a lesson learned.

“We have seen how successful we have been. We let our guard down once even, and we see what happens” Neifer stated.

In other matters, the board recognized art and STEM teacher Amy Goodchild, who had an article published online. Goodchild’s article can be viewed at davisart.com in the “schoolarts” publication.

Goodchild wrote about her two-part project where students researched the controversial gallery piece “The Comedian” by Maurizio Cattelan, which consisted of a banana taped to a wall. Students were instructed to create their own art using everyday items to appear humorous or monumental.

Robert Eggleston, the middle school career counselor, was also congratulated for being awarded a grant regarding industry recognized credentials for students. The grant was awarded to the Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio in the amount of $150,000. Eggleston is employed by the ESC.

Neifer explained that he is not aware how much of the grant the school district will receive but that the district will receive some funds.

The school district is proceeding with prom on April 24; all guidelines will be followed. Prom will begin at the high school then proceed to the Salem Golf Club. Neifer explained they will take two buses to follow distancing guidelines.

Graduation is scheduled for May 29 in the football stadium. Should there be rain, graduation will be pushed to another date. The benefits of having graduation in the stadium are more people will be able to attend.

There will be summer learning opportunities available to students. The elementary school will be providing two sessions. The first session will be in June. It will be three days a week for four weeks. The program will be taught by staff members. The second session will take place for two weeks in August. The August session will be a foundation building curriculum for the next grade level.

The middle school will have a similar opportunity. It will target grades 6-8. The program will take place four days a week for four weeks with a low student to teacher ratio.

Neifer also said there will be transition programs available in half-day increments for two to four days for incoming freshman students. The opportunities for both elementary and middle school will be by invitation for those most at risk. Programs will be expanded to all students once those invitations have been finalized.

High school students will also have credit recovery opportunities in June.

A resolution to endorse the Fair School Funding plan was approved along with the learning recovery and extended summer learning opportunity schedule.

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