School board receives updates as first quarter comes to an end


 A considerable amount of time was  spent discussing information related to COVID-19 during Monday's meeting of the Wayne Community Schools Board of Education meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan presented information to the board on the numbers of students (100) and staff (17) who have had to quarantine since school began Aug. 13. The number of people who have tested positive for the virus is "so low that releasing the information would violate privacy laws" Dr. Lenihan said.

The district has assigned a teacher to be a 'case manager' for each student who is absent for a length of time. This allows the teacher to check in with the student on a regular basis and arrange for help with homework when needed.

Dr. Lenihan also discussed with the board information from the Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner in regard to instructional hours for the 2020-2021 school year. Guidance from the Commissioner allows for up to 12 hours of instructional time per quarter to be used for "additional professional learning, teacher and/or staff work time or time for teachers to consult with parents/caregivers."

Board members voted to approve Wednesday, Nov. 4 as a full-day of teacher in-service rather than the originally planned 10 a.m. start. This will allow for additional training and work time for teachers.

In other action, the board accepted a bid for snow removal for the current school year.

The bid from Sebade Snow Removal was accepted for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. The bid of $90 per hour for pickup plow and $100 per hour for skid loaders includes removal of snow from the parking lots.

Approval was given for the purchase of three 75-inch digital display boards for a total cost of $7,202.94. The purchase will be paid for from the technology budget.

One of these display boards will be placed in the elementary school, one in the junior high and one in the high school.

Dr. Lenihan explained the benefits of having the boards and noted they can be used to record classes, which would be beneficial when students are absent from class.

The number of students optioning in and optioning out of the district was reported.

There are a total of 72 students who have optioned into the district, up from 69 students at this time last year. There are 56 students have optioned out of the district, compared to 59 students last year.

Dr. Lenihan was also instructed by the board to obtain property and casualty insurance quotes before the November board meeting and information on higher deductibles. He also noted that EMC, the company that currently provides property, casualty and workers compensation coverage for the district, has provided a training module for the school to use in developing safety policies.

The insurance coverage will be reviewed at the board's November meeting.

During the administration reports portion of the meeting, each of the administrators shared information on the recent Parent-Teacher Conferences and noted attendance was good and the ability to take part via Zoom allowed some parents to participate who might not otherwise been able for a number of reasons.

As part of the meeting, board members toured the south parking lot of the school to see areas of concern. Bids for paving the parking lot will be opened on Tuesday, Oct. 20 with a special meeting of the board planned for Thursday, Oct. 22 at 4:30 p.m. to take action and possibly award a contract for the work. Bid options included completing a portion of the work yet this fall and the remainder in 2021.

The Wayne Community Schools Board of Education will next meet in regular session on Monday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m.