It’s been nearly two months since Manhattan-Ogden school district students were last in a classroom, but learning continued, and now the school district is wrapping up the 2019-20 school year.
Thursday was seniors’ last day, and all other students’ last day is May 13. Packets of learning material for the last few weeks of school were sent out late last month.
Superintendent Marvin Wade told the school board that although this school year isn’t affected by the lifted stay-at-home orders, the district is already planning for summer programs and activities.
Wade said the district would limit or suspend several summer programs, so as to not jeopardize the school’s planned resumption of in-person classes in the fall. However, summer programs that can be done virtually, such as the Summer STEM Institute and high school credit recovery, would continue online.
The child nutrition department wraps up its temporary remote free breakfast and lunch program next week but will then start its regular summer lunch program, said director Stephanie Smith. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which funds to the free meals, has not yet issued guidance on the program past June, but Smith said she expects the program to continue all summer.
District employees on 12-month contracts are set to return to work on June 8, and all hourly employees also will return to work and be paid based on actual time worked. Director of business operations Lew Faust said the district has seen $439,000 in documented COVID-19 expenditures to date.
Director of technology Mike Ribble said the district has distributed 1,082 iPads and 1,066 Kajeet mobile hot spots to buildings as of April 17. More technology will be distributed ahead of the Summer STEM Institute, as the district will provide technology for all district students enrolled in the program.
Wade said in wrapping up the school year, district staffers are already planning for next year, using the lessons learned from these past few months setting up a continuous learning plan. He said the district has to anticipate that a resurgence in the virus could happen, and be ready for it.
“There’s going to be opportunities that come from this,” he said. “Hopefully, COVID-19 goes away soon and we can return back to normal, but we’re not going to return to the way school was before this happened. Things are going to change, I think, throughout the state, throughout the country, throughout the world, as a result of this. We have to be ready for that.”
The school board discussed its redistricting priorities, which school planning consultant RSP Associates will use, in conjunction with feedback from community surveys, to develop new school boundary suggestions for the board to consider.
The consultants will develop plans based on keeping school boundaries contiguous and long-lasting, balancing student demographics across schools, considering capital and operational costs, keeping neighborhoods together and impacting as few students as possible, among other criteria.
The board also approved the donation of easements at Eisenhower Middle School to the Manhattan city government to install a traffic signal at Tuttle Creek Boulevard. The city, in the past, has also waived permit and inspection fees for the district’s bond projects.
In addition, the board approved the following purchase requests:
- $43,960 for 40 laptop computers for school and staff use
- $22,390 for 10 iMac desktop computers at the high school’s media lab
- $25,620 for seven commercial-grade treadmills at the high school’s fitness center
- $61,776 from bond construction funding for new furniture at Keith Noll Maintenance Center