Boardman board looks at draft for start of school year

BOARDMAN — The board of education on Monday checked out the first draft of a plan to open school this fall, with options for in-person or remote learning.

With a start date of Sept. 14, parents will have until Aug. 7 to decide between in-person instruction with safety protocols in place, or remote learning from home with instruction provided by Boardman teachers. The decision has to be made so the district has time to prepare for in-class and remote numbers.

“If a parent were to choose remote learning or in-class and things weren’t working out, could it be changed?” asked board President Vickie Davis.

Superintendent Tim Saxton gave the example of parents who selected remote, at-home learning, then once the school year began, found themselves both called back to work. “We would definitely consider (a change),” he said. “We would have to take it case-by-case.”

The Centers for Disease Control guidelines say it is up to parents to conduct a wellness check prior to sending the child to school, Saxton said.

For those riding a bus, each student will be expected to wear a face mask and will be assigned a seat. If siblings both ride the same bus they would be required to sit together. Saxton said this way the district will know who was around a child should contact tracing come into play.

Additional bus rules include not congregating, sit facing forward, and reporting repeat violations that could end in loss of bus privileges.

For those who are in school, Saxton said the halls will be marked for one-way traffic, including the stairs. This move will help prevent congregating in the halls. Saxton did say the use of lockers is still being examined. He said the goal is not to have shoulder-to-shoulder students at the lockers. One possible solution he offered is to have staggered locker visits.

Face masks or face shields are the key and must be worn by students attending any Boardman school. Saxton did say teachers could build in a mask-relief time when they are in a class and are more than 6 feet apart, or if they are outside and socially distanced.

“It would give students a break from the masks,” Saxton said.

Custodians will play an important part of the overall picture as they will be doing a lot of disinfecting on a regular schedule.

Saxton said the cafeteria and lunch time is still being looked at, but the key will be in removing self-serve items. Cafeteria workers will be doing all the serving.

One big question parents are asking involves the remote students taking part in extracurricular activities, such as marching band.

“Yes, remote kids can still take marching band or take part in Project Mayhem, but they must attend the practices,” Saxton said.

Saxton added that for the lower grades, recess and gym time will be modified to keep numbers down and provide a safe environment.

About athletics, which will fall under the Ohio High School Athletic Association: “Aug. 1 is the first official day for fall sports,” Saxton said. “If they are going to pull the plug on fall sports, they will do it by that date.”


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