The Triton School Board held a scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, June 8 that lasted approximately 45 minutes. Due to continued restrictions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was live streamed to allow patrons to view the proceedings and ask questions by accessing the comment section of the live feed.
Superintendent Jeremy Riffle addressed the future steps for the demolition of the old gym, 2020 senior graduation, and re-entry to school buildings for the 2020-2021 school year.
The board had held several meetings as well as sought out possible uses for the 1928 gym building; however, there were no viable offers received. According to Riffle, the decision to move ahead with demolition is necessary to provide fiscal responsibility. He told the board members that the utilities were costing some $15,000-$20,000 yearly. The bid for demolition by Jackson Excavation was for $85,000. There is also a separate cost for asbestos removal.
Riffle indicated that the asbestos removal will be completed in time for the public to enter the building when an auction is scheduled in August or September to allow items inside to be purchased. Demolition will occur during the fall break of the school year when students are not on the campus.
After speaking with members of the senior class, administrators and health officials, it has been decided to hold a graduation ceremony July 12 at 2:00 P.M. The ceremony will take place in the Jr./Sr. high School Gymnasium. Each graduate will be allowed six seats for the public. Riffle indicated that the number should allow for all the visitors to be seated in the lower level and maintain social distancing requirements. To identify where family groups will be seated, plans are to hold a lottery, have assigned seating and have seating monitored.
The public will be asked to leave the campus directly after the ceremony.
Additionally, the ceremony will be shown by live feed through the school’s Trojan website or on their Facebook page.
The 2020-2021 school year will begin on August 5, but how that re-entry will look like is still in the planning stages. Riffle said the maim concerns are the health and safety of both the students and the staff along with the education of students.
Riffle said the mandates being received from the state level use the term “should” that leave leeway for local school corporations and health departments to make decisions concerning their own timelines and concerns. He said he is still meeting with other school superintendents, health officials, and every department staff within the Triton Schools.
He said there have been several social media posts on how the re-entry and requirements will be; however, he asks that parents/guardians call the administrators for accurate information. He said the most talked about item is the use of masks for students and teachers. At this point, considerations will be made at grade levels in the elementary school so that students will not be wearing masks all day. Parents will still have the opportunity to request that their child wear a mask for extended periods. He indicated that mask requirements for transportation or hallways will be different than in the classrooms.
He went on to explain that students in the first few grades will need to see a teacher form such things as sounds meaning the teacher may be wearing a face shield. He said with a staff of 130, it may be necessary for students to wear masks all day for the health of a teacher.
Transportation may be limited to one pick-up site and one drop-off site. The water fountains in the elementary building will be turned off, but new bottle filling equipment will be installed to allow students to refill their own water bottles.
The textbook fees will be increased by $15 so that all students will use their own iPad at school and not share with others. Riffle said they will continue to look at technology plans. “We are better prepared today than we were ten weeks ago” Riffle said.
Riffle said, “We have to show wisdom.” He said more information will be available as plans are finalized. They will be making videos available to show appropriate uses that are age appropriate.
In other matters, the playground at the elementary school is being replaced and the new equipment in place by July 1. Paid student and staff lunch prices will increase by 15 cents.