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Board of Education Meeting Recap - November 24, 2020

The following is a brief recap of the November 24, 2020 Board of Education Special Called Meeting:
No Board action was taken at today’s meeting. The primary agenda item for this meeting was 2nd Semester Plans Discussion. After opening comments by Chair West, Tamara Berman Ishee, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, gave a brief update on what Plans neighboring school districts were operating in. She also shared that the district is working to wrap up its registration process for the second semester.  
The Board’s discussion then moved to high schools and whether hybrid instruction should continue with cohorts of students coming face-to-face once every three weeks or if it could be possible to increase face-to-face instruction in the second semester.
To help with the discussion, three high school principals spoke on behalf of their schools and their colleagues who were not in attendance. While all high school principals were in agreement that they would like to increase face-to-face time for students, they expressed concerns that they felt the Board needed to consider before such a decision to be made. The principals shared that they will need time to modify their master schedule if they are to adjust class schedules for students. They also shared that they have some teachers who are concerned about increasing the number of students each week and were unsure if they had the space for social distancing to be practiced.
While no decision was made, interim superintendent Dr. James Merrill expressed to the Board that the Leadership Team will develop a fair timeline for high school principals to assess their buildings, schedules and student numbers to determine how best to increase face-to-face instruction for high school students in the second semester. The Board hopes to be able to make a final decision at its December 7, 2020 meeting.
Following the high school discussion, the topic of possibly transitioning elementary students to Plan A in the second semester was discussed (Plan A is full face-to-face instruction with limited social distancing). There was debate among some Board members about whether such a transition should occur. There was also debate about whether an agenda item should be added to the December 7, 2020 monthly Board of Education meeting which could lead to potential action. Leadership Team members told the Board that they would check with other school districts to find out which ones are operating in Plan A, and any potential COVID-19 impacts. Board members were also reminded that if they move to Plan A for elementary schools that registration contracts would need to be resubmitted in order to allow families to decide if they want their child in full virtual or full face-to-face. 
The full meeting can be watched by clicking on Video Link. This meeting and past meeting videos can be viewed by clicking on the following Board Meeting Videos Link. The full November 24, 2020 Meeting agenda can be viewed by clicking on Meeting Link.

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