The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

On-Going Discussion on how to Open the School


July 29, 2020

At the regular Big Sandy School Board meeting, they once again visited about how best to open the schools. However, before that, the Student Council asked permission to have a dunk tank at the Fall Kick off to help them raise funds. They realized that the Fall Kick-Off is not a sure thing, but was hoping if there was a Kick-Off that they could receive permission to rent one from Great Falls. The board decided that it was an administrative decision.

The Building Maintenance Projects that are finished are the ditch beside the gym is completed, sidewalks were redone, the flooring at the FE Miley school is completed. The mirrors at the high school are taken off, and the wall is plastered, primed, and waiting for paint. Currently, the halls are being waxed. Kelly Haaland said they do have a mole problem at the FE Miley Grade School and are looking for ways to remove them.

Travis Baumann reported that all technology projects are almost completed. The school has upgraded the internet from200 Mbps to 500 Mbps. The new laptops are in for the teachers, and 21 new chrome books have been shipped. Travis also reported that if any family is deciding to do remote learning that they should consider buying advanced Wi-Fi from Triangle, especially if they have more than one student trying to clock into class and stay connected to that class.

The three assistant coaches that have been selected and approved are: The Assistant Volley-Ball Coach is Katie Nicholson. Assistant Basketball coach is Travis Baumann for the girls and Laci Keller Christenson for the boys.

The board passed a Declaration of Unforeseen Emergency for the duration of COVID-19 for the school year 2020-2021. Just in can case, the school has a COVID-19 Case, and they have to go off-site. This will mean they can have flexibility with their funding. As long as a teacher leads the off-site learning, it will be funded.

This led the board into a discussion about the Return to School Planning Procedure. The following was part of that discussion, but it isn’t passed until they have their special emergency meeting. Kelly found out that play-ground equipment, because of ultra-light, won’t need to be cleaned as often as they first thought. He also gets a lot of his information and planning from the CDC and the American Pediatrics. Kelly also said we need to be flexible and have the ability to refine things when they need to change. Discussion about masks and how children with Asthma need to be protected, as well as children with sensory issues, will need to be able to move to allow for correct personal spacing. At the same time, several children are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Teachers will be teaching hygiene, like how and when to clean their hands.

They are also working through ideas for social spacing at Big Sandy High School. Lockers will need to be reassigned because they need more space between them.

Students will most likely be wearing masks in the hallway.

Parents of children riding the bus will need to work with the bus drivers—the plans that were given to the school was to add more busses and get more bus drivers, which is not feasible for Big Sandy. We will need to have the children riding the bus, wear masks, and parents need to stay at the bus stop until their child’s temperature is taken in the morning. The schedule will be changing in the morning, and they will let you know as they work out their timelines.

There will also be several parents’ changes when dropping and picking up students from school. All parents will be informed when the plan is finalized.

Chouteau County Health Department has to approve of the final plans. However, it will be necessary for parents

to take ownership of these plans. If they won’t follow the rules, for whatever reason, and any child happens to get sick. The entire school will be closed down again.

Face Shield’s will be allowed. They have 100 already available, and more will be ordered.

There was a discussion about the current law that says we have to offer online classes to anyone who doesn’t feel safe, whether it’s a teacher or a student.

There was some discussion that the Off-Campus/Online Instruction Policy needs to be better worded, so parents know that it will be their responsibility to connect to the classes at certain times. Off-Campus Online instruction is not the same as last year, and it will be up to the parent to make sure they are watching during the time the class is in session.

According to Kelly, the students and the process that took place during the driver’s education went well, so he believes we can accomplish the necessary changes for a school opening.

More health will be taught in the P.E. this year then it was in previous years.

Further discussion will occur, and the final adoption of the procedure/policy will need to be done before August.

Maryetta Engle researched pay given the Activity Bus Drivers in the area. The board voted to increase the compensation given to Activity Bus Drivers from $13 an hour to $16 an hour. It was noted they NEED bus drivers. If you are interested in the opportunity, contact the school, and ask what the requirements are.

For those interested, there are no changes in mileage of the route, so that that means the rural routes stay the same.

A list of Substitute teachers was approved, and it was noted they are still looking for more substitutes. If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher, contact the school as well.


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