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The Salem Board of School Trustees approved a Return to School Plan at their first regular meeting that was completely open to the public since the start of the pandemic. Meetings up until now have been held with live feeds for the public to observe. 

All members were present except Ericka Garloch who appeared via live video from home. 

Superintendent Jon Acton said the plan was very fluid and could and would change over the course of the school year. 

The plan (which can be found at http://www.salemschools.com/returntoschool

Parents can also sign up for the online portal through this site.

The plan sets out a return to school for all students – in person – on Thursday, August 5. 

One of the biggest changes for students is not being able to use their lockers. They will be required to carry their items around during the day in their backpacks. 

Two school corporations in northern Indiana have said they will operate in an online-only environment. 

Today, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb will meet with the Indiana State Teachers Association and will have a press conference at 2:30p on Wednesday. 

California’s two largest public school districts said on Monday that instruction would be online-only in the fall, in the latest sign that school administrators are increasingly unwilling to risk crowding students back into classrooms until the coronavirus is fully under control.

The school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego, which together enroll some 825,000 students, are the largest in the country to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August.

Students and parents at Salem who are skeptical about in-person schooling can sign students up for the Online Lions option, which allows students to take online classes and still participate in sports.

Acton said the online classes will be limited and cannot fully mirror the full in-person experience. 

The following health and safety protocols will be in place for in-person education —

  1. Masks – students and staff will wear masks when not being able to social distance — for example, passing in hallways or in classrooms. Acton said masks will not be required during gym class or during lunch. 
  2. Training – Professional development will be provided to all staff at the start of the school year on symptoms, sanitizing and screening measures. 
  3. Clinic locations – There will be the addition of a second nurses station at each school for students who are displaying Covid-19 symptoms. The wellness clinic will be still be operated for other needs. 
  4. Hand washing and sanitization – hand washing will be required throughout the day. Additional hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom. 
  5. Seating charts – Will be required for contact tracing on buses, classrooms and in the lunchroom. Siblings will be seated together on buses. 
  6. Water Bottles – Students will be allowed to carry water bottles. Acton said no-touch water bottle filling stations were being installed in all the school buildings. 
  7. Visitor Protocol – Visitors will be asked to wait in a designated area for student pick up. Visitors will not be allowed to eat lunch with students or visit classrooms. “We’re not going to be having speakers in the school as in years past. This will be different but we’re trying to be safe.”
  8. Stay Home if Sick – Families must screen their children and keep them home if they are sick or exhibiting symptoms. Sick children will be directed immediately upon arrival to the nurse who will require them to be picked up if exhibiting symptoms.
    1. Self Screening Factors
      1. Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?
        1. A fever of 100 degrees or higher. 
        2. Cough
        3. Shortness of Breath or difficulty breathing
        4. Chills
        5. Repeated Shaking and Chills
        6. Muscle Pain
        7. Headache
        8. Sore Throat
        9. New loss of taste or smell 

If a staff member or student exhibits symptoms or is tested positive for Covid-19, then the student or staff member will be quarantined at home for 14 days before returning to school. 

Acton said contact tracing will be conducted by the Washington County Health Department. 

The following changes have been made to classroom and the school environment: 

  1. Family events will be primarily virtual.
  2. Student events will be held in-person requiring masks or social distancing with limited family participation in a highly structured environment. 
  3. More personal space will be created in classrooms through the reduction of furniture to allow desks to be spread out. Students will face the same direction. 
  4. Students will be required to immediately report to classrooms upon entering school and not allowed to congregate in the hallways. 
  5. Sharing of supplies will be minimized. 
  6. No visitors will be allowed for lunch. 
  7. Adjustments will be made to serving lines. 
  8. Additional cleaning will occur between lunches. 
  9. Seating charts will be used in all cafeterias. 
  10. Students will not be required to dress for PE class to minimize locker interactions. 
  11. No playground equipment will be used during recess. 
  12. Barriers and other health procedures will be used in all offices. 
  13. Adjustments will be made to band, choir and related arts to clean in between classes and will encourage outside activities and social distancing to the greatest extent.
  14. Parents are encouraged to drive there students to school and pick them up. 
  15. No external field trips or convocations until further notice. 
  16. Volunteers (during the day) will not be scheduled until further notice. 
  17. Facility usage is limited to those entities with whom SCS has a written agreement.
  18. Attendance awards have been eliminated.  

OTHER BUSINESS

Several changes to staff were announced and approved. 

  • Alison Felice – Resignation from Bradie Shrum Elementary Art Teacher.
  • Mike Brown – Resignation from Salem Middle School Health Teacher
  • RJ Hartsfield – Resignation from Salem High School PE Teacher
  • Savannah Hartsfield – Resignation from Salem Middle School Career Coach
  • Allison Brown – Resignation from Bradie Shrum Elementary School Title 1 Teacher
  • Donna Amburn – Resignation from SMS Cafeteria
  • Freda Walton – Resignation from SCS Bus Driver
  • Cassie McIntyre – Resignation from SMS Counselor
  • William Cantrell – New Hire – SHS PE Teacher and Varsity Boys Basketball Coach
  • Vanessa Read – New Hire – BSE Art Teacher (K-2)
  • Noah Cobb – New Hire – BSE 5th Grade Teacher
  • Monika Spaulding – New Hire – SMS/SHS Journalism, ELA Teacher
  • Tressie Barrett – New Hire – SHS Science Teacher
  • John Skomp – New HIre – SCS Director of Digital Convergence and Innovation
  • Savannah Walton – New Hire – SMS Special Education Math Teacher
  • Ashley Williams – BSE 5th Grade Teacher to BSE Title 1 Instructor
  • Alex Davidson – BSE 5th Grade Teacher
  • Ashley Jarrell – BSE 2nd Grade Teacher – co-teaching setting for Special Ed inclusion option
  • Elizabeth Heavin – Transfer from SMS Special Ed to BSE 5th Grade Special Ed Instructor
  • Patricia Peacock – Transfer from SHS Cook to SHS Interim Cafe Manager
  • Debbie Ball – SHS School Nurse
  • Ashley Hammack – Maternity Leave
  • Jean Dowen – 2020 Band Camp Assistant
  • Blair Winslow – 2020 Band Camp Assistant
  • Cheyenne Sanders – 2020 Band Camp Assistant
  • Larry Hoover – 2020 Band Camp Assistant
  • Tim Johnston – 2020 Band Camp Assistant
  • Jordan Johnson – Volunteer Assistant HS Volleyball Coach
  • Kylie Brown – Volunteer Assistant HS Volleyball Coach
  • Jacob Thompson – Volunteer Assistant Boys Soccer Coach
  • John Noel – Volunteer Assistant Boys Soccer Coach
  • Rodney Brough – Volunteer Head Coach Varsity Softball
  • Chanda White – Volunteer Girls Soccer Coach
  • ECA Recommendations – Salem Middle School (not listed individually)
  • ECA Recommendations – Salem High School (not listed individually) 
  • ECA Athletic Recommendations – (not listed individually)

BOOK RENTAL FEES

Book rental fees were approved for all schools. 

  • Kindergarten – $71.34 (2 cent increase)
  • First Grade – $75.39 (five cent decrease)
  • Second Grade – $61.97 ($2.08 increase)
  • Third Grade – $59.71 ($2.08 increase)
  • Fourth Grade – $77.39 ($30.02 decrease)
  • Fifth Grade – $64.53 ($26.90 decrease)
  • Sixth Grade – $75.40 ($49.50 decrease)
  • Seventh Grade – $123.50 (Same)
  • Eighth Grade – $125.50 (Same)

High School course fees range in price from no charge up to $32.40 for entrepreneurship and new ventures at Ivy Tech. 

HANDBOOKS

Handbooks for students at all three schools were approved. 

FREE LUNCHES

Salem Food Services Director Karen Libka announced that breakfast and lunch will be available to all students at Bradie Shrum Elementary School beginning this fall. 

She said they were available to all students regardless of income status. 

Beginning Thursday, August 6, the school will be serving a free lunch. 

Free breakfast will be served beginning August 7. 

“The breakfast will be given to students as they enter the school and they can take that with them to their room,” said Libka. 

She said the program is due to a government program that allows the schools to participate for four years with a possible one-year extension. 

Those students with food allergies can go to the cafeteria to pick up breakfast so cafeteria staff can make sure they make safe choices.