BUCKHANNON — On Tuesday evening, the Upshur County Board of Education convened in regular session. Board members Katie Loudin and Patrick Long were absent from the meeting.
Before department reports began, Buckhannon Academy Elementary School Administrators Eric Brand and Susanne Britton recognized several staff members as Upshur Stars. Lori Smith, Yvette Papas, Michele Michael, Thurlene Hyre, and Linda Smith were all commended for their excellent work in the cafeteria, serving student’s meals with a smile and encouragement. In addition, Britton and Brand recognized the school’s secretaries, Tera Spotloe and Shelia Davis for being “the backbone of Academy.” The Upshur Stars were celebrated for going above and beyond for their school.
Following, David Claypool was recognized as Fred W. Eberle Technical Center’s newest member of the diesel mechanics team. After only a few days of his internship, he asked for more hours to provide additional help to FETC and their vehicles. He was commended for his passion and hard work.
Administrators Jonathon Pollock and Rick Reynolds then introduced Buckhannon-Upshur High School’s new football coach, Zach Davis. Davis expressed he is honored to gain the opportunity to help students become “better people, better students, and better athletes.”
Jeff Perkins provided a brief financial report. After reviewing the budgets, expenditures and accounts, he assured the Board members, “We’ve made great progress, and we’re positioned to continue making great progress.” The financial report was accepted as presented.
Next, the Board discussed a possible change in the cost of adult meals. As demand for food and labor increases in the school system, the Board proposed $3.10 for adult breakfasts, and $4.10 for lunch—both around a $0.50 increase. The BOE decided to discuss and possibly approve the change during the next meeting.
Board members then briefly discussed the end of the COVID-19 Leave program for faculty and staff. After a harsh year battling the pandemic, the end date of these specific leave guidelines will be dropped on June 30, as all individuals eligible for the vaccination have either received it or have been offered vaccination. The motion was approved.
Following, Board members approved multiple fieldtrip inquiries taking place throughout this summer learning courses offered at each school in Upshur County. An average of 100 children per elementary school have already signed up for these courses filled with activities, experiences and learning. All fieldtrips were approved.
A brief “school zoning” agreement was approved, allowing the installation of “School Zone” lights and signs approaching French Creek Elementary. This will add an additional layer of safety, alerting drivers they are entering a busy school zone.
Kayla Yocum then presented a Technology update, in which she elaborated on data collected by her department. The data reportedly indicates that both students and staff have become much more comfortable with the use of technology over the past year. The Technology Department continues to work on Help Desk inquiries, as well as repairing broken iPads and accessories used by teachers and students. They’re currently working to repair 64 iPads—a small amount considering the number of devices issued throughout the county.
Dr. Jeff Harvey provided a Safety and Emergency Preparedness update. He explained that quarantine and case numbers are currently low, as local peaks continue to become less and less intense. He continues to work with the community and healthcare facilities to provide the vaccine to anyone eligible and interested. He empathized with the reminder that anyone below the age of 18 must have parental consent to receive the vaccine. He will continue his case tracing and prevention efforts throughout schools as they begin summer learning programs.
Mr. Eddie Vincent gave a Wellness and Child Nutrition report, in which he announced each school will be offering breakfast (9:00 a.m.) and lunch (12:00 p.m.) to any student, throughout the summer months. Any student can eat at any school, regardless of where they attend during the school year. In addition, he explained to the Board that 253 food boxes are being delivered to families per week, a program that has had wonderful feedback throughout the year. This will also continue into the summer months, as boxes switch from 7-Day packs June 1.
All reports and inquiries were approved, apart from personnel which is set for approval upon the attendance of the remaining Board members.
The next BOE meeting is set to take place on May 25, 7:00 p.m. at B-UHS.