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Career Center starts some in-person classes

Board members of the Washington County Career Center Board of Education met Thursday evening to discuss the district’s plans moving forward.

The Adult Technical Division opened its doors to face-to-face classes on Monday.

“We are taking many precautions and following social distance guidelines for those gathering,” said Tony Huffman, director of the Adult Technical division.

According to Huffman, multiple courses were unable to switch to online learning, due to the required hands-on techniques, so those courses have started back up.

“Even some of our courses that switched to online learning will need to start coming in at least once a week for hands-on evaluations,” said Huffman.

According to Huffman, students on campus must wear masks; get their temperatures taken daily; have break times that are staggered to help with social distancing; and may not leave and return the same day. Vending machines are also shut down.

“We had to move some classes into bigger rooms to help space out the students,” Huffman said.

Huffman did announce at the meeting that one of the students who returned is now under quarantine, because they came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

“This means that the students they were around are now considered contacts of a contact, but those students only need to self-monitor and watch for symptoms,” he said.

Superintendent Dennis Blatt agreed that it is hard to teach some programs virtually and said that while hopes are to return to all in-person classes this fall, the district wants to be cautious moving forward.

“It has been a crazy year and quite the experience,” said Blatt. “We are weighing options on moving forward and following the set guidelines.”

As far as set plans go, the board has suspended all non-essential spending for May and June, in order to provide extra carry-over into next fiscal year.

“We should be able to save 10 percent of our funds, equaling $250,000,” said Joe Crone, treasurer.

Crone said that the board has asked staff to review their budgets and see if there are any other voluntary cuts that can be made.

“We want to go into this new fiscal year with a balanced budget, some flexibility to make necessary adjustments and help soften the cash blow,” said Crone.

In other business conducted at the meeting:

• A resolution to accept the resignation of Paul Westbrook, Auto Collision instructor, was accepted.

•The board authorized full payment for all chapter advisors for the 2019-2020 academic year.

• Food prices for the 2020-2021 school year were established as follows: breakfast for a student is free; lunch for student and adult is $2.65; the reduced lunch price is 40 cents; a la carte item prices are to be determined as an adjustment based on vendor pricing.

•A resolution to authorize the Treasurer to enter into an agreement with META for software and network service and support for the 2020-2021school year at $16.75 per student enrolled passed.

• It was announced at the meeting that students of the month are Faith Chichester, a Marietta senior in the Diesel Truck Mechanics program; Savannah Knotts, a Belpre senior in the Sports Medicine & Exercise Science program and Dakota (DJ) Robinson, a Waterford senior in the Carpentry program.

• The district has been able to supply laptops to more than 89 students, and are sending hard copies of work to approximately 60 students who do not have internet access.

• The annual Senior Awards Ceremony, usually held at Marietta College, will be pre-recorded and held virtually onTuesday. There will be a link on the career center website and links will be sent to students for watching the ceremony.

• The National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) inducted 40 new students and 20 return students. Since they are unable to hold a banquet, the board will be going door-to-door honoring the 60 NTHS students.

The next meeting will be June 18 at 6 p.m.

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