ASHLAND – With several unknowns still out there, how the upcoming school year will play out has yet to be determined.
During the Ashland-Greenwood Board of Education meeting Monday night, administrators reported on plans for the 2020-21 school year. It was the first time the entire school board met face to face since March 16.
Curriculum Director Jill Finkey said administrators normally spend the month of June planning for the upcoming school year. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made preparation a challenge.
The administration has created a task force to address the changes that will take place when school starts in August.
“No matter how we return in the fall, definitely things will be different,” Finkey said.
While awaiting guidance from the local health department, the Nebraska Department of Education and the governor’s office, the administration is looking at three possible scenarios for how the school year will look, Finkey said, based on the level of risk from the coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The scenarios could include smaller class sizes, split schedules or remote learning, which was the way students were instructed from mid-March to the end of the school year, after the virus closed all schools in Nebraska.
The specifics of the three scenarios were not provided, but Finkey said they were still in the research and planning stages.
“We’re game-planning for multiple scenarios,” added Superintendent Jason Libal.
The district will tailor the way it operates to meet the needs of the community, Finkey said.
“We determine what’s best for our community based on our local guidelines,” she added.
Libal also reported that the elementary school playground, the track and the football field would be opened to the public on Tuesday. The public will be informed that use is at their own risk.
“The city parks reopened,” he said. “I think it is time for us to do the same.”
Even though caution tape and signs notifying the public that these facilities were closed had been in place for several weeks, the public had disregarded those safety measures.
“They were constantly being used,” Libal said.
In other action, the board approved a 2.8% increase in salaries for all administrators. Libal had proposed a 2% increase for himself and 2.8% for the rest of the administration. But Board Member Suzanne Sapp was not in favor of Libal receiving less, even though Libal said he was comfortable with the amount.
“I personally would rather see it all 2.8% across the board,” Sapp said.
The rest of the board agreed and unanimously voted to approve the 2.8% raise.
The board also approved a five cent increase in school meal prices. Breakfast prices will go up from $1.80 to $1.85. Elementary lunch prices increase to $2.80. Middle school/high school lunch prices will remain at $2.95.
Libal said the school will continue to provide free meals to students through June. The food service staff have been handing out one week of meals each Monday during the pandemic.