A change ahead?

Published 3:22 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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Polk County Board of Education August meeting notes

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Troubling trends in Polk County’s COVID-19 data could mean that Polk County Schools will have to change its plans for the start of school before classes even begin.
That was the message that Superintendent Aaron Greene delivered Monday to the Polk County Board of Education at its August meeting, held in the auditorium at Polk County High School.
Polk County Health and Human Services reported 9.8 percent of residents tested last week returned a positive result, a five percent increase from the previous week
Should that trend continue, Greene said, Polk County Schools may be forced to move to having all students learn remotely when classes begin on August 24. The district currently plans to offer a mix of in-person and remote learning.
“That is not the trend we need to see, especially if we’re planning on getting kids and staff back in here safely,” Greene said. “It’s not the right direction for our community or us, and we’ll continue to watch that very closely over the coming weeks.”
“I will say that we need our community and our families to help us. Wear a face covering if you go out, wait six feet apart and limit exposure to others and wash your hands often and practice good hygiene. This is how our community numbers go back down and we can work to get our kids back in school. If we are going to open up and stay open, our community will be key in that process.”
Greene went on to share results from the most recent family return decision survey, indicating that if the number of students returning in-person remained consistent, schools would be able to serve them with existing social distancing requirements. He also discussed reopening plan details with attention given to general areas of focus as well as school-specific information.
The Board adopted the plans in draft form with the understanding they will be updated and finalized in coming days, then shared with families and students.
In other items:
• The Board formally approved changes already communicated to families to the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar, moving school start dates forward one week to August 13 for Polk Early College and August 24 for all other schools.
• The Board approved submission of federal program plans for Title I, II and IV grants as presented by Curriculum and Instruction Director Ronette Dill.
• The Board approved an annual QZAB Loan Lottery payment and out-of-district tuition for the 2020-2021 year.
• Assistant Superintendent Dave Scherping presented recommended policy revisions necessitated by recent Title IX law changes. Those were approved by the Board.
• The Board agreed to grant flexibility to application of the district’s Attendance, Graduation and Athletics policy requirements due to Covid-19 circumstances.