The WSSD board held its single July meeting tonight. The video can be seen on Youtube and the agenda is available in BoardDocs. There were no focus topics tonight.
The new superintendent opened with a wide-ranging statement. First he spoke about the letter he sent out laying out his plan for development of a strategic plan over the course of this year. He’s met with his pandemic team to discuss the changing guidelines. With the ChesCo health department withdrawing as DelCo’s health department this summer, the state will take over that role. Current federal guidelines require masks on school buses, that requirement will be incorporated into the district’s health plan. His team is still working through all the guidance. He promised there will be multiple communication channels used to communicate with families about school plans.
He gave an update on the SHHS entrance project, which is 40% done and will improve security at the high school. The district is applying for a grant to help families with technology needs. The grant is part of the American Recovery Act and has a short turn-around time. If you know families in need of technology support for education, have them reach out to the district soon.
Enrollment for the Edmentum virtual school option is open from July 12th – 30th, but the superintendent said there may be some flexibility in that window to allow for parents to make an informed decision once the school safety plan is more final.
He referred to the sleep study plan, and said that once he’s had a chance to get up to speed they will pick up with the discussion where it got cut off by the pandemic. No changes can be implemented for the 21-22 school year. He then covered the various summer school activities like the extended school year, community of explorers and music programs that he’s visited in his first few weeks.
Other Board Business
The board passed routine business with little discussion by unanimous votes.
The board then heard from 4 candidates interested in the open Region 3 seat on the board. Former board member Wendy Voet was appointed with five of the eight votes. Ms. Voet stated that while she’ll run in the special election for a 2 year term, she has no interest in serving beyond that.
A Swarthmore parent stated that he felt masking was important to protect unvaccinated children to allow for a safe return to school in the fall.
Another resident highlighted the success of district alumns in the olympic trials and the fencer participating in this summer’s games in Japan.
A resident from Swarthmore highlighted her children’s success in the summer explorers program and the need for masking to protect immuno-compromised people like herself.
A resident from the northern part of NP stated that her children withdrew from the summer explorer’s program because of the district’s changed health guidelines. She highlighted that the district did not communicate these changes to families and she found out from a friend. She stated how disappointed it was to hear of the board’s unanimous changes to eliminate masking in the program and highlighted again that many medical groups continue to encourage masking to protect the unvaccinated and immuno-compromised members of the community.
A student at the school spoke about rising anti-semitism in America and the failure of the district to allocate sufficient time to teaching students about the holocaust. She related personal stories of her experiences in the district.
The superintendent took several minutes to address the last public comment and said saw a similarities between her experiences and his own. He said he would work to create space for discussion and would reach out to her.
Marylin Huff is moving from the district and will resign on August 2nd after almost 12 years on the board. She ended her time on the board by saying how hard it is to be the only person wearing a mask.
Lentz thanked the new director of student services.
Kelly thanked the people that applied for the board vacancy and said how great the summer explorers program has been for her child.