Primero school board tackles COVID questions

by Ruth Stodghill

PRIMERO — The Primero School Board held its regular monthly meeting at 5 pm on July 21, focusing on topics including plans for the upcoming school year, fiscal changes due to cuts to the state budget, and a staff resignation.

“The state department of education came out with further guidance regarding the start of the school year,” said Naccarato.

“We also sent out a survey to parents and staff about how they would like to approach the new school year.” “We are looking at starting grades 6-12 on a hybrid model until Labor Day,” said Naccarato. “The state is suggesting that teachers keep a six foot radius from students, so we are trying to develop two cohorts of students in order to limit exposure among students and staff.”

“Mr. Naccarato, what are you doing for your high risk employees, students, or age groups?” asked board member Laura Saint.

“All staff and students will be given options,” said Naccarato. “We are going to have a staff meeting tomorrow and we will ask staff if they need to be accommodated or what their thoughts are.”

“Are you going to be asking staff to sign a waiver in case they get COVID-19? I would be more comfortable if staff were asked to sign a waiver,” said Saint.

“We can look at that. But staff would have to prove that they didn’t get it somewhere else, like the grocery store or gas station,” said Naccarato. “This is what the school district lawyer told me.”

“Next, with our buses, we will sanitize them in the morning, in the evening. We will take temperatures as students get on the bus, and parents will not be allowed to leave until their child has passed temperature checks. Last period, teachers will take temperatures of students before they load on the bus or leave with their parents,” said Naccarato.

“We will be using an electrostatic machine to sanitize all the buses,” said facilities director Gerald Duran. “We will wipe down high-touch areas, plus use the machine.”

“With regard to the school calendar, we have eliminated three inservice days for the staff from throughout the school year. Instead, we have added five days of training for teachers on COVID-19 response, in person and online, at the beginning of the year, with classes pushed back to start on August 17,” said Naccarato.

“We are going to spend the year adapting to whatever happens to us,” said Naccarato.

Saint asked the school administration, “What have you been doing to prepare the school district for the financial crisis that we know will be coming after January?”

“We have worked quite hard on the budget,” said Naccarato. “Even without COVID-19 relief funds, we are $98,547.36 to the good. We have cut back on multiple budget line items. I assure you, we have been working on this quite hard.”

“How will the cafeteria work this year?” asked Saint.

“We are looking at grab and go breakfasts,” said Naccarato. “Lunches will be hot like usual. We are looking at two lunches for the secondary instead of one: grades 9-12 and grades 6-8. Elementary might be in their classrooms.”

“Sports are completely in limbo right now,” said Naccarato. “CHSAA has not come out with any information for us. So we are moving forward to start on time, until we find out differently.”

“On that subject – we can’t have volunteers in the school building next year,” said Byall. “Parents can’t come in, that’s why we aren’t having parent/teacher conferences this year. The only people that can come in are our regular staff and approved substitutes.”