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Ohio County Schools Discusses Calendar

WHEELING — It may not be clear yet whether students in Ohio County Schools return to their classrooms this school year, but plans for the 2020-2021 term are in the works.

Next year’s school calendar was presented Tuesday night during a public hearing prior to the regular school board meeting. Both the public hearing and the school board meeting took place virtually on Facebook.

Under the proposed calendar, students would start the 2020-2021 school year on Aug. 20, with graduation occuring on May 23, 2021. The last day for students is set for May 28, 2021.

Winter break is set to take place Dec. 18 through Jan. 5, 2021; and spring break, April 1 through April 8.

Information pertaining to the calendar will be available on the school district’s website, and the public will have the opportunity to comment on the calendar through a form that will be accessible through the district’s social media platforms.

A second public hearing is set to take place at 5:30 p.m. on April 27.

Human Resources Officer Susan Nolte explained a polling of the public took place prior to creation of the calendar, and 927 responses were received.

While a start day of Aug. 10 was initially proposed, the polling indicated the public wanted the start of classes to happen later in the month, she said.

In addition, the public overwhelmingly wanted the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as a day off for the schools, and there was support for having the week of spring break take place after Easter.

Board of education members touched on a wide variety of topics during their regular meeting.

They unanimously voted to appoint current Wheeling Park HIgh School Assistant Principal Meredith Dailer to principal effective July 1. Dailer will take over for current Principal Amy Minch, who resigned to take the job of attendance director for Ohio County Schools.

Amid much discussion of the school district’s efforts during the coronavirus effort, there was talk of the bond construction projects still on track for the district. Bids for Triadelphia MIddle School construction were opened this week, and bid criteria for projects at WPHS, and Steenrod and West Liberty elementaries are being prepared, according to Sean Doyle, field representative with McKinley and Associates.

John Gasser, a field representative with CMTA Energy Solutions, also spoke on-line during the virtual meeting. He told board members work to make school facilities more energy efficient was paying off with a big savings — especially at Middle Creek Elementary School, where energy use was reduced by 70 percent.

Gasser said he wants to provide a presentation on all the cost savings for the school district at a future meeting when he could have extended time.

School officials gave updates on how the school was functioning in the areas during the coronavirus update. School Nutrition Director Renee Griffin said Ohio County School has provided nearly 75,000 meals since schools were closed last month, while Students Services Director Raquel Welch McLeod said school officials were continuing to try and reach out to students they have not been able to contact while schools have been closed.

Building principals, often accompanied by their school’s prevention resource officer, have been driving their districts looking for the students. In many cases, their home phones have been disconnected or they have moved, she said.

Technology coordinator Patrick Riddle acknowledged there have been issues with Schoology as more and more students across the nation attempt to use the service. But he said Ohio County Schools, which pays to use the service, now is being given first priority in providing on-line instruction materials to its students.

The board next meets at 8 a.m. on April 21 for a special meeting to set the interest levels for its bond levies. The next regular board meeting is set for 6 p.m. on April 27.

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