CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee School District Board of Education members discussed the district’s back to school plan, and offered attendees a brief tour of the newly renovated Junior and Senior High facility, during their regular monthly meeting Thursday, Aug. 13.
Though traditionally held at the former Board of Education offices located at 124 Bloomfield St, adjacent to Camden Primary School, future board meetings will be held in the auditorium at the Junior and Senior High. Board meetings will no longer be streamed online via the district’s YouTube page, according to Superintendent Dr. Matt Bishop, as the auditorium allows space for proper social distancing.
The board approved a total of $6.4 million in expenditures for renovations to the Junior and Senior High during its March 25 and April 9 meetings. Those funds covered the purchase of boilers, transformers, air ventilators and other equipment, as well as upgrades to the facility’s lighting, electrical, HVAC, hot water, fire suppression, and security systems and new tiles for the building’s ceiling.
The board also approved a nearly $200,000 renovation to the flat section of the building’s roof. The shingled portion of the roof will likely be replaced in the spring.
“We’re still finishing up,” Bishop said of the current renovations, which he indicated would be mostly complete by the time school resumes Sept. 8.
Bishop was especially enthusiastic about the upgrades to the school’s lighting and ventilation systems.
“It was nice walking through the facility without sweating to death,” Bishop joked. “It’s a much cooler, brighter building, and it’s going to be way more energy-efficient.”
Back to School Plan
The board also discussed its back to school plan, which was unveiled via Facebook on Aug. 3 and updated Aug. 11. Under Option 1 of the district’s plan, students will resume in-person instruction on Sept. 8, with the preceding two weeks consisting of Teacher Work Days to facilitate the moving of classroom equipment and supplies from the recently closed West Elkton Intermediate School.
Students will be dismissed one hour early on Wednesday afternoons throughout the school year. The last day of school will be June 4, with the date of 2021 graduation still to be determined.
Face coverings must be worn by students, staff and visitors in all common areas, including on buses, while entering and exiting the school building, while standing in line in the cafeteria or while using the restrooms, according to the district’s posted guidelines. Face coverings may also be required in classrooms where social distancing is not possible.
In addition to being mandated by the governor’s office and the Ohio Dept. of Health, face coverings may prevent students and staff who were in close proximity to someone later diagnosed with COVID-19 from being unable to return to school for up to 14 days while they are monitored for symptoms, according to the district’s website.
Custodians will clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces throughout the day. In addition, desks, chairs, doors, and other surfaces in classrooms will be cleaned between each class period. Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms, as well as at various locations throughout the school building.
Finally, students and staff are required to check for COVID-19 symptoms daily before coming to school. These symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of the sense of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
Under Option 2, meanwhile, students may continue to learn from home, provided they have the capability to access materials for online instruction. The district will provide Chromebooks for students’ use, and may be able to provide help with acquiring internet service as well.
About 25 percent of the district’s students have selected the learn-at-home option so far, according to Bishop. At the K-6 level, Bishop said, one teacher from each grade level will be assigned to work with remote students, while junior high and high school students will utilize an online program, with the ability to call a teacher if they need assistance.
The reduced number of students attending in-person classes will have an upside, according to Bishop.
“It’s going to help with cafeterias and hallways, and areas where we were going to try and do a lot of separation anyway,” Bishop said.
The board’s next meeting will take place Tuesday, Sept. 3 in the Junior and Senior High auditorium.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish