With the closing of physical school buildings, education, and nutrition for students must continue in unconventional ways. In addition, issues such as graduation and end of the school year procedures are topics of importance.

These and other issues were discussed at the April 21 meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education. Members Bobbi Farrell, Steve Chancey, Ben Mize, and Dan Barnette attended in person, with member Jim Frazier attending via phone.

Superintendent Blaine Hess informed the board that student meals would be provided through Memorial Day week. One recent change is the waiver received regarding the inclusion of dairy products.

“We received the waiver allowing us to leave out dairy products in the school lunches,” Hess explained. “There were so many challenges including keeping the products cold and the cost being so high for 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches. So far, we’ve had no calls from parents.”

Chancey expressed concern for the meals provided by the school system in the summer.

“We are planning on offering the meals as in the past,” Hess said. “We might have to look at different options. Social distancing rules may still apply. We just don’t know at this point.”

Summer school classes will be offered, with some classes on-line. Hess indicated that the method and timeline will be flexible.

Discussion was held regarding end of the year procedures with Hess explaining that remote learning will continue until the end of the school year, but there will be a plan for returning materials, cleaning our lockers, and other tasks.

With graduation concerns being high on the priority list of both students and parents, Hess said that Director of Secondary Schools Jim Mahan was considering options. Mahan’s plan was to talk to students to get their input.

“We by far prefer face-to-face graduation ceremonies,” Hess said. “But we have to consider Plan B and C as well.”

In other business, the board:

• Adopted instructional materials for health (grades K-5), health (grades 6-12), and driver’s education (grades 9-12)

• Approved summer school programs for elementary and secondary education

• Approved purchase of 335 MacBooks from Apple for student use at a cost of $295,470

• Approved contract with West Virginia Paving for projects totaling $105,875

• Learned that the balanced budget for the 2020-21 school year will be on the agenda for approval at the next regular meeting

• Had a second reading of a number of revised policies with vote to be taken at the next regular meeting

• Approved a designated project list for 2019-20 totaling $1,051,990

After a 12-minute closed door executive session, the following personnel items were approved:

Resignations: Tim Ross, boys soccer coach Ripley High effective April 7, 2020; Charles M. Stephens, custodian summer cleaning program effective April 13, 2020

Reduction-in-Force and Transfers: Melissa Harbin from teacher Title I Cottageville Elementary to teacher fourth grade Cottageville; Charmin McCarty from teacher first grade Evans Elementary to teacher fifth grade Ravenswood Grade; Courtney Casto from teacher first grade Ripley Elementary to teacher first grade Henry J. Kiser; Kristy Hatcher from teacher fourth grade Evans Elementary to teacher fifth grade Gilmore Elementary; Adda Bailey-Standish from teacher pre-school special needs Ripley Elementary to teacher preschool special needs Gilmore Elementary; Timothy Young, teacher fourth grade Ripley Elementary to teacher first grade Henry J. Kiser

Transfers: Megan Patterson, paraprofessional/aide, Ripley Elementary; Kristy Riggs, paraprofessional/aide Ravenswood Middle for 2020-21 school year

Employments: 48 probationary professional personnel and 44 probationary service personnel

Other: Establishment of professional positions including

• Eight positions (one position for each elementary school) summer school on-line June 22-July 31, 2020

• 18 positions intensive (two positions for each elementary school, four positions for Ripley Elementary) between July 13-July 31, 2020

• Nine positions (two English certified, two math certified, one special education certified, three-and-a-half Plato facilitators) from June 22-July 31, 2020 at both high schools

Prior to the regular meeting, a short special session convened to approve the levy rate as presented.

The next regular session of the Board of Education will be at 7 p.m. one May 7 at the administrative office.