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School board holds March meeting


Updated health guidance for schools was shared with members of the Prairie Central Board of Education during the group’s regular March meeting held this week.


Superintendent Paula Crane reported this is an attempt to encourage schools to transition to in-person learning for students – something Prairie Central has been doing all year. The guidance through IDPH/ISBE comes from data showing schools are not a significant source of virus infection and that children are not spreaders or impacted by the virus in the same way as adults.


“Included in the guidance is a reduced measurement for social distancing in schools to three feet instead of six feet,” said Crane in comments released after the meeting. “Also included in the guidance was the continued use of masks in all school buildings at all times with the exception of lunch times and brief mask breaks.”


When possible, individuals are encouraged to still remain six feet apart and students must maintain a six foot distance when they are without masks. Staff immunized and those with a positive COVID diagnosis within the past 90 days will not be required to quarantine, even if directly exposed to a positive case.


Remote learning options are no longer required, with the exception of those students with medical conditions that put them at a higher risk of infection or students living with someone with such a condition. PC schools will continue with the current plans until the end of the school year.


“The new guidance brings renewed hope of all in-person learning with fewer restrictions next year,” added Crane.


Crane also reported House Bill 2170 has been signed into law. The most impactful part of the legislation for the district is the addition of a two year foreign language requirement as well as two years of LAB sciences. Discussions are underway as to how ag sciences can help meet the new mandate.


Under old business, the board approved the new policy manual along with a community outreach plan for the 2021-22 school year. This includes bringing one regularly scheduled board meeting to each of the district schools with the remainder to be held at the high school.


In new business, the group received a draft of the 2021-22 school calendar which was created with input from staff and PCEA. The board considered a new registration fee structure with the hope of decreasing fees next year. Further discussion is expected in April.


Following an executive session, the board appointed Jeff Curl auxiliary junior high school boys baseball coach, effective with the 2021-22 season and appointed Tyson Stork as a PCHS agriculture teacher effective with the 2021-22 school year.


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