School Board opts to wait on mitigating procedure plan

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Several parents were in attendance at the Perry County School District No. 32 Board of Education meeting on July 14 waiting to hear an update for district’s policy on the mitigating procedures for the 2021-2022 school year.
Those hoping for a decision will have to wait.
Board President Jamie Robinson met with the Perry County Health Department, along vice president Mary Bauwens, Superintendent Andy Comstock, and Health Department Director Liz House and other board members on July 8.
“We want to be creative so that we can keep the kids in school five days per week, and minimize the impact if there happens to be a positive test,” Robinson said. “The Health Department is going to be flexible with us, but they were adamant that if someone tests positive they will still quarantine and follow those same procedures.”
The board is still in a waiting pattern however, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to review the information.
“DESE is going to use that information and decide if they will allow virtual learning as an option this year,” Robinson said. “There are a lot of moving pieces still and we are still waiting on some things to come out before we make out a plan. Some of those things we used last year like hand sanitizers and seating charts will still be in place to make sure we know who a child has been around if they do test positive.”
Robinson noted that schools in the area like Jackson R-2 will start the year without masks on campus, but there are certain triggers they use that will allow them to put masks on if, needed. Ste. Genevieve will have masks on part of the day.
Robinson felt like they could use a combination of both those plans.
“We fall in between that,” Robinson said. “We want to start the school year without masks, but we will keep them as a tool in our toolbox as a last resort. However, if we start without them, we have to decide what our triggers are going to be to put them on as little as possible.”
As the board waits on the other information they did decide to create a survey and send it out to parents and staff members to receive their input before finalizing any plan.
A conversation was held in regard to creating more opportunities for the community members to ask questions to the board and get answers in a less formal manner.
The district implemented a “Coffee on Campus” program where community members could ask questions to staff and board members about issues in the district. An email blast was also discussed to send parents information on special board meetings.
The meeting began with Casey Brewer being sworn in as the newest member of the board.
She replaces Ashley Geringer who resigned in June. The meeting continued as the district’s transportation department was recognized for receiving a 100 percent pass rate on their most recent inspections.
“The inspections are a group effort,” PCSD No. 32 Transportation Director Sarah Orf said. “If it wasn’t for our drivers doing their daily trips and reporting issues to us, it would be difficult to stay on top of everything. Our drivers are just as deserving of this award as we are.”
Perry County Economic Development Authority Director Scott Sattler returned to give an update on the creation of a 13th community college.
He met with the board in April to discuss the matter.
“The rules do not allow for us to add another community college district and based on that we would not go forward with the community college,” Sattler said.
Despite not getting a 13th community college, Sattler stated that the best thing to come out of failed attempt was that the feasibility study provides good data.
“It helps us support our students in the best way possible,” Sattler said. “Especially when it comes to getting them into the workforce.”
Sattler is already working on the next steps of the project, which involved talking with state legislators and creating a $5 million line item in the budget to create Perryville Technical Workforce Center.
“We are still in the process, and nothing has been finalized when it comes to plans,” Sattler said.
Jeff Keim from Incite Design Studios discussed the schematic design drawings and plans for moving forward on the Phase 3 of the middle school project. Incite Design will start creating construction documents for bidding purposes to present at a later date.
The board is hoping the cost of materials and labor will drop before starting the building process.
Comstock stated in his “Superintendent Report” that the bus lease for 15 buses ends in 2022. The district will seek bids for the purchase of new buses for 2022-23 school year.
The Professional Development Committee presented the program evaluation and included the possibility for teachers to go back off campus for the meetings.
The next school board meeting will be Wednesday, August 11.

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