BLOOMINGDALE-The Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board of Education is looking forward to another year with a new member and a return to classes.
The board met Tuesday and welcomed Andy Reeves, who was appointed to complete Randy Henry’s three-year term as representative for Toronto City Schools that expires on Dec. 31. Reeves, a Toronto resident, took the oath of office and his place on the board, but he is not new to local education. He was a special education teacher for 15 years and athletic director for six years at Toronto, followed by a five-year stint as director of special programs at Beaver Local Schools. His most recent post is as assistant superintendent at Carrollton, which he began three weeks ago.
He has served on the Toronto school board for the past two years and was eager to serve the JVS panel.
“It’s nice to hear input from different districts. It not only helps the Toronto kids, but I also get different perspectives for my job.”
JVS Superintendent Dr. Todd Phillipson welcomed Reeves aboard and said he would provide vast experience to his role.
“I’ve known Mr. Reeves for several years and think he’ll make a great addition to the board.”
Meanwhile, the board prepared for students’ return to classes for the 2021-22 school term, announcing an open house this Monday, Aug. 23. Juniors will attend from 4:30-5:30 p.m. with seniors at 6-7 p.m. Supervisor/Principal Dan Hartman said pupils will have a chance to meet teachers and staff, view their classrooms and labs, pay related fees and obtain their schedules and Chromebooks.
“We’ll have conversations with the kids who may be coming in for the first time,” Hartman said. He and Supervisor/Assistant Principal Andy Long estimated that 331 students will attend this year and school begins on Aug. 24.
Dr. Phillipson also provided an update on the start of school, saying work had been completed throughout the building from new carpeting and painting to window cleaning while floors should be done soon. He also introduced a resolution on COVID protocols which was consistent with state health guidelines. The policy authorizes the superintendent to issue guidance to students and staff regarding safety measures such as facial coverings.
“It means we’re following the ODH guidelines and they are strongly recommending masks if they are not vaccinated,” he said.
Discussion ensued and board members noted that guidelines varied between school districts, with Steubenville mandating masks while Edison and Indian Creek were optional. They did note, however, that masks are mandated on buses to follow federal standards. Dr. Phillipson added there were protocols for vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals should they be exposed and have to quarantine. For now, schools may still conduct dances and students may congregate. He commented that the JVS would still take steps to ensure a safe environment for all who inhabit the building.
“We have masks on, Plexiglas at the lunch table and the air is being filtered. Last year, we didn’t have an outbreak. We’ll respond if we need to, but hopefully we won’t need to.”
“We can encourage any student who wants to wear a mask to wear a mask,” said JVS Board President Larry George.
Dr. Phillipson said he could also contact the health department to facilitate vaccinations in the future, which for now is available to children ages 12 and over.
In related news, he praised school administrators, office staff, custodians and maintenance workers for helping to prepare for the start of school while Hartman and Long were also approved to make school closings and other emergency decisions in the superintendent’s absence.
Among other action:
--The board heard updates from Hartman on teacher inservice and professional development plans and Long on the emergency operations plan. The EOP was later approved;
--Approved an administrative salary schedule;
--Approved a contract with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to assign Don Ogden as a mental health professional from Sept. 2, 2021, to July 31, 2022;
--Approved a contract with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for a school resource officer for the upcoming school year;
--Accepted an estimated $64,000 Small Rural Schools Achievement Grant for 2021-22 for operations;
--Approved an alternative school service agreement with JCESC for the upcoming school year;
--Revoked a bid for noncompliance and approved another from Dave Lancaster to purchase the modular home;
--Scheduled the next board meeting for Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m.