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School board hears about COVID-19 info

Students concerned about graduation and prom; no clear answers

Carl Carlson
Putnam County School superintendent
Carl Carlson Putnam County School superintendent

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GRANVILLE — Putnam County School Board members heard an update from Superintendent Carl Carlson in regards to the unprecedented events that are happening in regards to COVID-19 at their March 17 meeting.

Carlson told the board that he has been spending all of his time since the previous Tuesday learning all he could about the virus and learning what is expected of school districts by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Carlson said, “The administration team worked hard all weekend to ensure everything went smoothly. We had to take into account the safety of students and staff members.”

Currently the students will be out of the classrooms through March 30 with e-learning beginning on March 18. Carlson said that at this time, there is no plan to change the dates of spring break.

Note to readers: Since this meeting took place, Gov. Pritzker said the school closure period would be extended until April 8.

Graduation and prom are a concern for seniors and high schoolers, but there is no clear answer at this time.

Carlson said, “I feel for all of the students dealing with the uncertainty.”

One area that parents will not have to worry about is food. Parents are able to sign up for meals for any student under the age of 18 or in the IEP program. As of March 17, there were 18 students signed up. Parents are asked to sign up by 9 a.m. the day before and food can be picked up between 9 and 11 daily at the location that the parents select.

Carlson explained that they should have enough food for these two weeks without ordering supplies, but the biggest concern is making sure that staff knows how much food to prepare every day.

Board President Rollie Copeland thanked Carlson for all of the work that he and the administrators have put into all of this.

The schools will be open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

In other news:

• Carlson is continuing to work on issues that have been happening with the bus routes. He explained that he will be setting up a problem-solving meeting with the bus representatives to discuss some minor ongoing issues as well as exponentially growing concern on the reliability of the company’s contracted service.

Carlson said: “The bus company is experiencing a bus driver shortage. We have had numerous late bus arrivals that have led to the district scrambling to notify parents and causing an increase in frustration due to not being reliable. Again, the dispatch managers continue to sincerely apologize over and over. While I can relate to their frustration of being short staffed, the district is also paying a premium dollar for a contracted service. As stated, I will be setting up an individual meeting in the very near future to problem-solve this issue.”

• The state currently owes Putnam County Schools $218,455, which is half of what was owed at this time last year.

• The IHSA membership renewal was renewed, which will allow kids to participate in state tournaments.

• The board accepted with regret the resignations of Kyle Anderson as elementary school P.E. teacher and Leanne Smith as freshman volleyball coach.

• All certified, probationary, non-tenured teachers, paraprofessionals and non-certified staff were rehired.

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, in the Putnam County Primary School Media Center.

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