LINDEN — With re-entry plans for the 2020-21 school year in the works at North Montgomery, administrators and board members instead focused on a plan surrounding summer activities on campus during the district’s first in-person public meeting since February.
A 38-page document of guidelines for summer and fall re-entry released June 5 by the Indiana Department of Education outlines a three-phase plan to safely bring students back to campus during the summer amid ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.
“There’s nothing normal about this board meeting,” Superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran said. “It’s so bizarre to be making decisions on things we haven’t considered before.”
Coinciding with Stage 5 of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan, which begins July 4, board members approved the use of the IDOE guidelines, allowing students to return to North’s athletic fields as early as July 6.
“This rolls out in three phases because we are on a very tight schedule to get into Stage 5 of the governor’s plans,” Moran said. “No one said we had to have board approval of this plan, but since we’re asking parents and students to sign waivers, we thought it best that (the board) takes a look at it and the multiple measures put in place to keep our athletes safe.”
Phase I of the IDOE plan (July 6-19) suggests a maximum of 15 hours per student on campus each week, with no more than two activity days per week limited to three hours per day. It also states that all sumer activities should be listed as voluntary.
“The same type of things are in place for marching bands,” Moran said. “They’re following the same guidelines; the Music Educators Association decided to mimic those.
Beginning July 20 and running through Aug. 15, Phase II of the plan removes hour limitations for athletes on campus. However, face coverings, social distancing and vigorous handwashing is encouraged.
Lastly, Phase III takes students well into the school year and is listed as “Aug. 15 and beyond,” with the same guidelines in place as the previous phases.
However, locker room access, which is restricted in Phase I, will still be allowed at only 50% capacity.
The board approved the three-phase plan outlined by the IDOE and looks forward to interacting with students again.
“We miss our kids,” Moran said.
In other business, the board:
• Received a reminder from Moran that graduation for the class of 2020 will be held in-person (with social distance guidelines) at 9 a.m. July 11 on the football field. Students will be limited to the number of guests to ensure social distancing. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the corporation’s Facebook page via the Indiana Sports Network at: www.iscsportsnetwork.com/videos/2020-north-montgomery-high-school-graduation
• Heard from Moran that a fall re-entry plan for the school year will be shared with parents later this week on social media and via email.
• Extended the agreement with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office to maintain A.J. Rice as the campus’ school resource officer.
• Accepted a Digital Learning Grant in the amount of $19, 701.
• Approved the extension of administrator contracts through 2022-23.
• Approved the hire, transfer, resignation and termination of several employees: Charles Smalley, resignation from district transportation; Melissa Whittinghill, resignation as Exceptional Learners aide and second-grade teacher at Sugar Creek; Dayna Jones, resignation as English teacher at NMHS; Loren Coon, transfer from substitute bus driver to full-time driver; Elizabeth Schafer, hired as English teacher at NMHS; Patricia Emmert, hired as temporary first-grade teacher at Sugar Creek; Haley Heide, hired as summer custodian at Pleasant Hill; Laura Catlin, hired for food service at NMHS; Bob Nabors, approved as girls assistant tennis coach at NMHS; and Jeff Goodspeed, approved as band accompanist at NMMS.
The next board meeting will be at 6 p.m. July 27.