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  • Fairbury News staff

Reopening plan approved by PC

The PC School Board met Thursday evening for a regular meeting at PCHS.

The Prairie Central Board of Education has approved a reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year.

A committee of teachers and administrators developed the “Return to Learn” plan after looking at parent survey results along with information from the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics.

“We want kids back in school,” Prairie Central Superintendent Paula Crane told board members Thursday night.

School reopening will take place in three separate stages, assuming the state remains in Phase Four of the Restore Illinois plan.

The first stage, from Aug. 24 through Oct. 9, includes students attending school on-campus from 8-11 a.m. and remotely for two hours each day starting approximately two hours after dismissal time. During stage two, from Oct. 13 to Nov. 6, the on-campus learning day is extended to five hours with each day a two hour early dismissal. In-school lunch service also begins during this stage. The third stage, Nov. 9 through the end of the year, involves students attending classes in person according to their regular schedule.

Per IDPH and ISBE mandates, face coverings must be worn by students, staff and visitors at all times while in the building or on the bus. Students and staff will be asked to social distance whenever possible, both indoors and outdoors and all classrooms will be disinfected at least every 24 hours.

Board member Dana Kafer said she was contacted by a couple of teachers who want a teacher survey to provide input. Member Lori Schahrer feels there are plenty of concerns for everyone involved.

“What becomes our liability?” Schahrer asked.

“It’s all on us,” replied Crane.

Board president Mark Slagel noted kids typically adapt well and he feels this is a good plan for what the committee had to work with. Tim McGreal said the district has to start somewhere.

“We are going to have a number of people not willing to wear masks for a number of reasons,” observed member John Wilken.

Also at Thursday’s regular meeting, the board voted to amend the school calendar as the state has authorized an additional five remote learning planning days. PC would like to add a day at the start of the school year for a third institute day and have a second remote learning day a couple of weeks into the year on a Friday.

Under new business, the group heard about the budget which is expected to be approved in September. This is a different year to plan for since no one knows what is going to happen.

“Taxes should be somewhat stable,” explained Crane.

Transportation is an area which worries Crane since funding depends on the year before. That could impact district reimbursements for the next year. Also, capital projects were decreased since there is less money coming in from sales tax revenue. There will likely be more spending on COVID-related items such as masks, sanitizer and software for remote learning.

Crane also updated the board on graduation which is planned for Friday, July 24, planned by a high school staff committee. Students will walk through to pick up their diploma cover before actually receiving their diploma and exiting right away instead of congregating in the school. Three different groups will arrive at 4:45, 5:45 and 6:45 p.m.

“We’ll have someone there videotaping it and a professional photographer taking pictures,” Crane said.

Ongoing project updates were given to the board, including bleacher and roof work. The new football field bleachers are looking good and going up well, according to Crane. They should be on target for August completion, although there will be plenty of detailed work at the end.

“If we do have football, we will probably have to surround the field with fence because we’d have to keep track of how many people are in that space.”

Board members also approved the Fiscal Year 20 transportation and food services reports.

Follow this link for the school's Return to Learn Plan from the district website:

Here is the Return to Learn Plan video from Superintendent Paula Crane:

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