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Board Briefs - June 21, 2022

  • The Board Briefs are highlights from the most recent Board of Education meetings. The purpose of the Board Briefs is to provide a timely summary to keep our staff, parents and public informed of the key items that were discussed or acted upon. More detailed information is available under the Board Schedules, Agendas and Minutes section of the District’s website. Official minutes are not posted until approval at the following meeting.

    At its most recent meeting, the Board of Education approved several recommended policy updates, reviewed potential changes in health and safety protocols, discussed the district’s long-term facility plans and approved the recommended employment of several new staff for the 2022-23 school year.

    Safety, Security and Geothermal HVAC Planning
    If approved by the district’s voters on June 28, safety and security updates will be the first priority in the district’s planning to ensure a safer learning environment for our students. The next steps in plans and timelines for the replacement of the aging HVAC systems with a geothermal system will also begin if the referendum is successful. Mr. Cross stated that if the voters approve, future energy and maintenance cost savings are one of the things he is most excited about as this will be a relief to the district budget. He emphasized that passage will commence much more work with the district’s architect and engineer to take the next steps in planning. Should the referendum not pass, then the Board will review and discuss the next steps at a future meeting.

    Food Service Program Update
    Superintendent Mark Cross shared with the Board concerns he has had with the food service program. The school district will go through the procurement process for the 2023-24 school year to consider the possibility of a new provider.

    He also shared that it appears school lunches will no longer be free for all students and only eligible students will receive free lunches. Should that be the case, the Board established the 2022-23 school year price at $3.50 per lunch.

    2022-23 Health and Safety Protocols
    Mr. Cross shared current recommendations for health and safety protocols beginning with the 2022-23 school year. While subject to change, Mr. Cross shared the importance of having a plan in place, particularly if future health guidance would require any adjustments.

    The most obvious changes would be the elimination of contact tracing, low-risk notifications and weekly screening testing. Onsite testing options are being researched for when symptoms are present or a test is necessary. Other recommendations under consideration are as follows:

    1. Parents should keep children home with symptoms, per CDC guidance.
    2. Masking remains recommended for a specified period of time after symptoms or close contacts, or until a negative test result is achieved. Masking would remain welcome for any child or family who wishes to do so.
    3. The district will encourage COVID testing after symptoms or close contacts.
    4. The district will provide information regarding vaccinations and boosters, as appropriate and recommended under health guidance.
    5. The district will maintain the use of air purifiers in certain rooms until such time it is either no longer necessary, or after possible new HVAC systems are installed.
    6. The district will maintain data on known cases in the school setting.
    7. The district will retain the ability to re-implement protocols if needed or required under health guidance.
    8. The district will create a "Healthy Schools, Healthy Kids" section of the website dedicated to this information, as well as other health information to promote and share with parents.

    In Key Action Items, the Board of Education… 

    • Approved the employment of the following staff effective at the start of the 2022-23 school year:
      • Caitlyn Isaacson, Concord 4th grade teacher
      • Kathy Mensik, Cass Junior High library resource assistant
      • Kerri Soriano, Concord teacher assistant
      • Daniel Murphy, long-term substitute Spanish and ELL teacher and long-term substitute band teacher, both at Cass Junior High
    • Approved the 2022-23 school year lunch fee of $3.50
    • Approved the recommended Board policy updates
    • Approved the Federal ESSER III grant funding application, most of which will be used for HVAC improvements
    • Approved the 2022-23 food service contract with Aramark
    • Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Darien Park District
    • Approved the Illinois Student Online Personal Protection Act Addendum with Embrace Education for Use with SASED Platforms
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