The Hillsboro City Schools are following Highland County Health Department guidelines and highly recommending that students wear facial coverings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are not requiring students to wear them, superintendent Tim Davis said at Monday’s school board meeting.
Davis said that some students and staff are wearing masks, but he did not know how many.
In response to a question from board member Jerry Walker, Davis said classrooms are supposed to be sanitized nightly by the custodial staff, and that he has no reason to believe that is not being done.
Board member Tom Milbery read a letter during his report saying that the school district should use some of the nearly $10 million in federal government Covid relief funds is expected to receive to show its appreciation to school staff with some sort of compensation.
He said that during his many years as a teacher he endured some difficult years, but nothing that compares to the sacrifices the district’s staff has made during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our staff deserves our gratitude, not just with words, but with compensation. We have the funding to do this, and what better way to invest in our school and our community?” Milbery asked.
At last month’s school board meeting treasurer Ben Teeters said the school district expected to receive about $6.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds and a little over $3 million in Esser funds. But he said those numbers could also be adjusted.
Milbery said he spoke with Davis about his proposal, and school board president Bill Myers said it was a “wonderful suggestion.”
Since last month’s board meeting, Davis said the district has experienced two calamity days. He said the first one came on Aug. 27 when a little more than 50 staff members were going to be off work for a variety of reasons. He said the other came Sept. 14 due to septic issues at the elementary school.
He said that because pump issues caused septic water to spill into a couple rooms on Sept. 13, some students had to be moved outdoors prior to dismissal from school, then some flooring and carpet had to be removed and everything sanitized. The district also had to purchase two new septic pumps.
Davis said he wanted to thank the Highland County Health Department for meeting with the school district weekly to keep it informed on the pandemic, and the school staff for its continued efforts.
“We’ve had challenges, but last week when we came back from the fair it was our best week for attendance,” Davis said.
He said some staff members have asked about COVID-19 booster shots, but that the district had not yet received any definite answers.
Davis also noted during his report that the district had 18 applicants for a new head of maintenance position, and that the school district was planning an out-of-country field trip to Costa Rica for June 11-19, 2023.
He said the district had planned a trip to Berlin, Germany two years ago, but it was canceled due to the pandemic, and that the trip to Costa Rica would be more cost effective.
The superintendent did not say what students would be eligible for trip or how much it might cost, but noted that more details will be forthcoming at next month’s board meeting.
The board approved the following supplemental contracts: Rachel Bohrer, Debbie Howard, Heather Murphy and Sara Weisner to the local professional development committee; Gary Breeden as the varsity girls softball coach; Miles Burton as the athletic site supervisor; and Lucia Tomko as the girls varsity bowling coach.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.