USD 448 board meets via Zoom

As an accommodation to the COVID-19 virus, the USD-448 school board met via Zoom online video conference service on March. 23. Votes on motions were taken orally and by a show of hands on the screen from each member’s location.

The bond election scheduled for May 5 has been postponed.  A date will be set during a future meeting after gatherings of more than 10 persons are permitted so the public can view drawings of the sports facilities and greenhouse upgrades and ask questions about them. The board will review this on a monthly basis until the vote can be rescheduled.

Inman Superintendent Scott Friesen presented the 2020-21 school calendar for board review and approval. The first day of classes will be Thursday, Aug. 13, and the last day of the fall semester is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 22.  Spring break will be Mar. 15-19, 2021.

Friesen said, “The state requires classified staff to be paid during the classroom shutdown. At this time, janitors have been busy working to clean offices and classrooms and lockers are being cleared out for students and families to pick up materials left behind.”

It will be announced on USD-448 social media when locker materials will be available for pick up.

Cooks are preparing daily breakfasts and lunches for pick up. Each bag contains today’s lunch and tomorrow’s breakfast. Bus drivers are making rural deliveries of these meals while school is shut down from the period of Mar. 23, through the end of the spring semester, May 14. Students who attend other schools but who live in the Inman school district may receive these lunches by calling the district office for arrangements.

In the constantly changing environment caused by COVID-19, Friesen is participating in online meetings daily with state education officials because plans announced on one day are being superseded the next day. He has also been meeting with building principals, faculty, and staff in virtual settings to keep them updated as to what is being planned.

He stated, “Our priorities are health and safety for all district staff and students, maintaining emotional well-being, and achieving a continuous learning plan to cover what remains to be learned in this school year.”

The week beginning March 23, is set aside for teachers to create learning plans that can be delivered via online or other non-contact methods. Active virtual learning will begin Monday, March 30. Families can find information on the district’s web page under the Special Messages link in the upper left corner. Other social media will be used as needed to contact families and students.

In a recent survey, 12 percent of students were found not to have good internet access, including both rural and in-town students. IdeaTek, the local internet service provider, has set up hotspots outside Inman Public Library and Miller Cycle Shop on Main Street to facilitate access for anyone not having home internet access.

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) requires a continuous learning policy to be in place for the rest of the school year to be submitted no later than April 8, for the district to receive a waiver of attendance hours for the rest of the semester. This includes the plan for achieving educational goals that must be approved by the board prior to being submitted. A special meeting will be held for this purpose in early April; the date will be determined once board members review their schedules.

Darren Schmidt and Janell Harman were selected as the board’s representatives for the teacher contract negotiations to be held later this year.

The board approved this month’s personnel items. Resignations have been received from Susan Roehl, assistant cook, and Keith Plooster, assistant cook. Newly hired are Megan Heckel, head high school volleyball coach; Natasha Meier, assistant high school cheer coach; Kelsey Larson, head junior high cheer coach; and Brad Regehr, custodian. Regehr is working now; the others will begin their positions when school resumes for the fall semester.