NEW PARIS — National Trail Community Local School District Board of Education members and administrators discussed COVID-19 statistics and state-mandated testing during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Transportation Director John Toschlog reported on the purchase of a 78-passenger handicapped-equipped school bus for a total of $94,456. The bus, which was purchased from Lima, Ohio-based Cardinal Bus Sales & Services, Inc., will be put into service in place of two smaller buses.
“Due to rust and age, it was time to get those buses replaced,” Toschlog said.
The new bus is gasoline-powered and equipped with two wheelchair-lift mechanisms, according to Toschlog, who said that newer diesel-powered models often require expensive engine repair work.
“Those are the ones that tend to have problems,” Toschlog said.
Elementary School principal Ed Eels updated the board on the use of a new classroom app, Seesaw, which allows teachers to make comments on work submitted by students electronically. Students can then correct and resubmit assignments.
“I’m very happy with the way our teachers have bought into that,” Eels said of the app, which is in use in over 150 countries according to the company’s website.
Eels also commented on upcoming state-mandated tests for third and fourth-graders.
“Our teachers spend a lot of time preparing for the test, giving the test, and then taking a big gulp of relief when the test is over,” Eels said.
Middle School principal Jen Couch reported that M.S. students would be tested in English, science and math during the same April 26 through May 14 window as the elementary and high schools. She also stated that representatives from Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio would address students about internet safety.
“The biggest problem I have with our kids is social media, and how they can get themselves caught up in some not-very-good things with that,” Couch said.
High School principal Mike Eyler, meanwhile, discussed plans for a socially distanced homecoming dance set to take place in the high school gym.
“The kids have done everything we’ve asked,” Eyler said of the students’ compliance with various safety measures related to COVID-19. “We’ve gotta give them something.”
Eyler stated that recent upgrades to the gym’s ventilation system should make the event safer.
Superintendent Bob Fischer reported no active COVID-19 cases among either staff or students in the district, saying that prospects looked good for homecoming and other traditional school events.
“I think all five school districts in the county are ready to get back to normal at this point,” Fischer said. “It’s time.”
Fischer reported that 34 staff and students have been quarantined due to potential infection so far during the current semester, but that none have ultimately tested positive for COVID-19. Fischer indicated that “maybe it’s time to push the envelope even further” in terms of loosening quarantine restrictions.
Current standards require anyone within three feet of a potentially infected person for more than 15 minutes within two days of symptom onset to be sent home from school and quarantined until tested. Original guidelines affected anyone within six feet.
Most school districts in the county, including National Trail, have been forced to move to remote instruction for two-week periods or longer due to large numbers of students and staff being exposed.
“Next year we hope we have no days away except for weather,” Fischer said.
National Trail Board of Education meetings typically take place the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School cafeteria.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish