Schools

Greiner clarifies district’s standing during pandemic

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NEW MARKET — During a brief meeting of the Southmont board of trustees Monday, Superintendent Dr. Shawn Greiner addressed if and when the district may consider utilizing remote-learning options in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A recent article in the Journal Review regarding the status of Crawfordsville Schools, he said, prompted concern among some Southmont families. He assured that district- or county-wide closures are not being considered at this time.

“If you hear that we’re on the brink of closing — we’re not,” Greiner said.

Along with superintendents Dr. Colleen Moran of North Montgomery and Dr. Scott Bowling of Crawfordsville, Greiner meets with health officers and county officials weekly with the goal of keeping students in the classroom.

“We do a lot together, as corporations. We also know that each school is individual in some ways, too,” he explained. “While Dr. Bowling may have described circumstances in Crawfordsville schools, it doesn’t necessarily represent the circumstances at Southmont Schools and/or North Montgomery.

“We’re not talking about an entire corporation closure, let alone an entire county closure.”

Though positivity rates for the coronavirus are climbing in Montgomery County, it is predicted by health officials the three districts will stay just inside Indiana Department of Education guidelines of maintain in-person instruction before heading into winter break.

“We were watching whether or not we were red, and from there we would’ve discussed if we would’ve done something different at the high school,” Greiner said. “For us at the middle school, we were looking more at going back to the cohorting.”

Cohorting, short periods of e-learning, individual classroom closures, individual school closures and hybrid schedules were also cited as potential methods to which the district could turn if rates continue to climb.

Furthermore, each school within the Southmont district can utilize these methods to keep students in the classroom even if the county moves to red on the State Department of Health online map, he said.

A 15% seven-day county positivity rate has been commonly referred to as a threshold to begin considering alternative methods during public sessions for each district in recent months.

The next regularly scheduled public meeting is set 6 p.m. Jan. 11.

In other business, the board:

• Approved monthly claims totaling $2,984,655.

• Approved a resolution to transfer $600,000 from the Operations Fund to the2Rainy Day Fund.

• Approved the appointment of Karen Craig to the Ladoga-Clark Township Public Library Board.

• Approved insurance policy renewals, a bus driver rate increase and to use the services of Indian Creek Mowing for grounds maintenance.

• Approved the hire of Isabella McIntyre as substitute teacher and Mayra Rosales as cafeteria monitor.

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