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Board Makes Start of School Determination

Cassia School Trustees met Thursday, August 13, 2020 to discuss district placement in the COVID- 19 transmission categories as determined by South Central Public Health. Trustees reviewed and discussed potential responses as the county was placed in the orange category: moderate community spread with an alternate plan required. This is the yellow category according the school district reopening plan. 

Trustees unanimously approved a four day school week for students (Monday-Thursday) with Friday as a work/professional training day for teachers and staff. 

Monday will no longer be an early release day.  

 

 

Cassia School Trustees met Thursday, August 13, 2020 to discuss district placement in the COVID- 19 transmission categories as determined by South Central Public Health. Category placement is the role and responsibility of local public health districts. The educational response is the role and responsibility of school trustees.

Trustees reviewed and discussed potential responses as the school district was placed in the orange category: moderate community spread with an alternate plan required. Public health’s orange category is comparable to the yellow category in the district’s re-opening plan.

Trustees discussed the options for educational delivery working from documents provided by public health. Board members and central office officials have previously stated their commitment to provide some form of in-person instruction leading up to the August 24th start.  From a second motion made by board member, Jeff Rasmussen, the Board unanimously voted to support a 4 day, in-person school start, with Friday as the non-student day. Teachers will use Friday as a workday for professional development and training.

Vice Chair, Heber Loughmiller, commented on the need to “provide some certainty about school starting to our staff and community.”

Dr. Shank presented information specific to Cassia regarding current risk levels and overall contributing factors including hospital capacity, community spread, rates of confirmed cases and positive tests per 10K people. Superintendent Shank will receive weekly data reports from public health and the Board will actively monitor conditions in schools.

Board members discussed the importance of safety, particularly for faculty and staff. Although not required, the Board is highly encouraging masks.  Trustee Darin Moon emphasized that decisions were not political statements. “Following guidelines and recommendations puts us all in a safer position.”

 

Fiscal manager Chris James noted that acquiring preventative equipment and supplies had been an ongoing effort. In addition to limited resources, many supplies were simply hard to get. Recent purchases for hand sanitizer stations carried a price tag of $30,000 alone and the district had been purchasing PPE and thermometers since late spring.

Comparing the pandemic to a monster in the lives of children, Moon stated that he could not “discount that this is a disaster for children causing increased educational gaps, furthering the literacy problems, increasing emotional health needs and suicide. I choose for children to be fully engaged in the school setting.”

 

School Administrators will direct operational aspects in their schools with guidance from the district and state re-opening plans. For specific information please visit school websites or contact the local school. The Board will meet for its regularly scheduled meeting on August 20th.