September’s School Board meeting brings new COVID testing for students
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By Taylor Wren
The Jersey Community District 100 board met on Sept. 16 at 6:15 p.m. This month’s meeting was held in the district board room on Lincoln Ave., however it was a virtual meeting you could watch live on YouTube instead of having the physical presence of a quorum of the members.
Community members who called in during the public comments portion of the meeting stressed their concern about having a virtual meeting. It was recommended by the Chief Brad Blackorby, of the Jerseyville Police Department and the county health department to hold this meeting online. The first paragraph of the sign posted on the front door read:
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to protect the safety of Board members, staff and the public, the public will not be permitted to physically attend the September 16, 2021 public hearing or regular Board of Education meeting.”
The full year tentative budget was discussed from 6-6:15 p.m. The budget was then approved during the regular meeting directly after.
There were an incredibly large amount of fraudulent unemployment claims, about 5-20 weekly that BushueHR, Inc. was able to help fight. During the meeting, the retainer agreement was approved to keep them on as they were seen to be a very valuable asset.
The Board for Special Education also had a meeting days prior to the meeting that reportedly went very well. A budget was approved allowing them to bring on another teacher and aid to accommodate more students.
The communication committee discussed foundational information and that they are going to start selecting a wider variety of people, such as parents and community members, to see how well they can assist in pushing out more information to other people who may not have a child in school and to parts of the community they really don’t have access to. Discussion of different online platforms that could be used was also mentioned. Their next step is to reach out to them so they can go in and receive education on how to push that information out.
There was discussion of things that are going to be getting fixed or replaced. Some of those items mentioned were replacing the chiller at JCHS, fixing the south parking lot, replacing the theater lights, parking at East Elementary and both locker rooms at the sports complex. They are looking at updating the HVAC system in the district office building as well.
The middle school will be participating in One Book One School program again this year. The book is to be revealed to the students in October. The author of the chosen book has already agreed to come and speak to the students in November. There will be a discount given to the district directly by the publishers of the book.
They officially have the consent forms needed to start the next step for a Test to Stay. These forms were sent out to parents of students in their Skyward accounts to consent or decline a new process for COVID testing at the school for exposed children. This test is a saliva test that is noninvasive. Directors are working with nurses to get everything set up for testing and they have the rosters ready for who will be at each school. It will consist of three steps and three roles. The first will be where the student will receive their test tube, the second is where the student will then spit into the test tube and the third is where the tube will be handed off to whoever will be responsible for taking it to the testing facility.
The tests will be run in Springfield and the results will be returned in 24 hours. The tested student(s) will then be able to return to class instead of being sent home. This test is only for students who might have been exposed and required to quarantine per the health department’s guidelines. Test to Stay is the testing initiative to keep our kids in school without missing too much in school time due to exposure. You can choose to take part in testing at any time and you can also decide to decline testing at any time. Consent forms will be needed for either option.
Announcements that were made at the end of the meeting are listed below:
– Sept. 17: Staff Professional Development–No School for Students
– Oct. 8: 2 p.m. Dismissal
– Oct. 11: Columbus Day –No School
– Oct. 12: Regional Institute –No School for Students
– Oct. 15: End Of First Quarter
– Oct. 21: Regular Board of Education Meeting –6:15 p.m.