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In-Person Attendance Mandatory At Triad Schools Next Year

By Charlie Feldman

cfeldman@timestribunenews.com

When school starts again next year, more students will be there to enjoy it. In person.

“The state board of education has passed a resolution to make in-person attendance mandatory,” superintendent Leigh Lewis told the Triad school board at its Monday, May 24 meeting.

She said the state will still make exceptions but rules to qualify for remote learning will be “very stringent.”

“There’s two conditions,” Lewis said. “One would be medical – and quarantine. So you can’t have one. You have to have both. So there will be some but it will be very few that would meet both the requirements for remote learning.” She said the district will still have to think about remote learners and be able to provide their education for them but there will be smaller numbers than what they once thought due to the fact that both requirements must be met.

The state could change its mind, she said, like several times this year when it would tell them something one day and a few days later tell them something else very different.

“They could make adjustments,” Lewis said, “but right now they are stating that the expectation is that all students will be expected to meet in person in the state of Illinois in public schools.

“I look for us to live through a little bit more of that as we plan for next year school too,” she said. “So we’ll do our best, planning still some social distancing and, as you know, we’re planning to have all students back in with the doors open in August.

“And I know that parents are anxious to know that because there are some places that are going back to work too,” she said. “Parents need to know what the schedules are so they can plan accordingly too for their own personal scheduling.”

“We don’t want to put the cart before the horse here and try to think about what they’re going to do,” she said. “Let’s just let the months go by and see where we go.”

In other developments, the board approved several previously discussed items.

An equipment lease purchase agreement from Busey Bank for $364,000 at a 0.99 percent interest rate was given the green light by the board. This money will be used to acquire three electric school buses.

The board also said yes to an installment purchase agreement with that bank that would authorize the issuance and delivery of $1,615,501 aggregate principal Debt Certificates, Series 2021 paying the costs of the following work contracts:

• Phase II solar arrays at Henning and St. Jacob elementary schools from Control Technology & Solutions, LLC at a cost of $1,252,544.

• Installation of fencing at those solar arrays by Chesley Commercial Fence and Rail at a cost of $98,973.

• Installation of a concrete parking lot at the Henning solar array by WWCS, Inc. for $263,984.

Also approved were:

• an increase in technology fees from $90 to $110 for kindergarten through fifth grade students, for $100 to $110 for third through fifth grade. This aligns to the current $110 fee for sixth through eighth grade. At the start of the 2021-22 school year, all students will have access to same technology services.

• a three-year lease agreement with JMO Mobile Modular, LLC to acquire a portable building for Triad Middle School to add extra space and to use as a lunchroom.

• a June 28 public hearing date at the district central offices at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the transfer of funds from tort immunity to operations and maintenance.

• a June 28 public hearing date at the central offices at 6:30 p.m. for the fiscal year 2020-21 amended budget.

The next school board meeting will be held on Monday, June 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the central offices, 203 East Throp Street in Troy.

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