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Belpre BOE talks appointments, in-person classes

Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley, left, speaks as Board President Mike Miller listens during a board of education meeting on Monday evening. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

BELPRE — As part of the first board of education meeting of 2021, the Belpre City Schools named Mike Miller as Board President and Fred Meredith as Vice President on Monday evening at Stone Administration Building/Early Learning Center.

Both Miller and Meredith were voted unanimously in each of their positions and ran unopposed.

This will be Miller’s fourth year on the board and he served as Vice President last year. It will be Meredith’s 11th year.

When voting for the appointment of board members to head committees for 2021, Meredith suggested that with the COVID 19 epidemic causing multiple problems throughout 2020, everyone should keep the same position.

The motion was approved unanimously by the Board.

Board member Brenda Church’s assignments will include Ohio School Boards Association Legislative Liaison, Negotiating Committee, Personnel Evaluation Committee for the Superintendent and District Policy Committee.

Miller’s assignments will be the Athletic Committee, Negotiating Committee and Finance Committee.

Board member Cathy O’Donnell’s assignments will remain as Athletic Committee, Personnel Evaluation Committee for the Treasurer and District Policy Committee

Board member Leonard Wiggins will continue as Ohio School Boards Association Student Achievement Liaison, Personnel Evaluation Committee for the Superintendent, Insurance/Wellness Committee and Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Meredith is Personal Evaluation Committee for the Treasurer, Buildings and Grounds Committee and Finance Committee.

The board will also keep the regular meetings on the third Monday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Stone Administration Building/Early Learning Center.

Monday also saw Belpre City Schools return to in-person learning five days a week and during his Superintendent update, Jeff Greenley said Belpre City Schools teachers and faculty handled the return well.

It was also the first day for students that started the year strictly in virtual learning.

“Some teachers had put some more desks in or out. I think everybody did a great job today making some adjustments,” Greenley said. “We’ve had some students virtual, now in-person and some in-person, now virtual. We are just making sure that everybody gets kind of reunited in their new learning environment because different things were taught. We’ll continue to work through that and monitor it.”

Greenley said the return wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifices of the families in the Belpre community during the holidays, as positivity rates in the area dropped around 25 percent.

“When the board made the decision to extend remote learning, it was out of a desire to see how things would shake out particularly given the holidays and what would happen at a statewide level. When we finally got the data back last week, we saw around a maybe as high as a 30 to 40 percent drop in statewide numbers, and then locally in Belpre, that number drops about 25 percent,” Greenley said. “The great choices that everyone made in our community that we could reopen and get our students back. So we appreciate all the sacrifices that were made by families over the holiday season. That number doesn’t happen serendipitously. Clearly, it was because everybody did what they thought they needed to do to support kids and we appreciate that and we’re happy to be back,” he said.

Greenley said he has been working closely with the Marietta/Belpre Health Department on COVID vaccinations and that the school will serve as a partner with the department by holding community vaccinations in the Stone Administration Building/Early Learning Center gymnasium today.

Greenley said based on Governor Mike DeWine’s policy decision that as soon as 1-A vaccination shots were concluded, teachers would be put in a queue for the shots.

Working with MBHD and sending out surveys to teachers to opt-in to receive the vaccine, Greenley hopes that teachers will receive vaccine shots by Feb. 1 or earlier if possible.

The board approved unanimously to amend the Restart and Reopening Plan for the district to include new guidance from the CDC and Ohio Department of Health, extend FFCRA COVID-19 Leave through 3/31/2021 and to reduce the GPA eligibility requirement for athletics to 1.0 for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

With the Restart and Reopening plan, those that are categorized as post contacts that are not showing symptoms will only have to quarantine for 10 days instead of 14. And students that are close contacts within a classroom that is appropriately distant and wearing masks would not be close contacts and not have to quarantine.

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