With one school year ending, the Hutsonville Unit 1 Board of Education began laying the groundwork for the next school year, even though it’s unclear what that year will look like.
Unit 1 Superintendent Julie Kraemer told the board schools have been directed to begin working on different plans for returning to face-to-face learning in the classroom this fall.
“I would prefer, if there’s any way at all possible, to have our kids in the classroom this fall,” Kraemer told the Daily News. “If there is any way to safely resume face-to-face learning. That’s what we will do. It will come down to directives from the state and I hope they will look at the data from our location and take that into account in their decision.”
Kraemer said some options may include limiting the number of students in the classrooms and the schools at one time. She said they might have some of the younger grades meet at churches of community centers to open up more space at the school for the upper grades to have class and maintain social distance.
“We need to remember that in the earlier days, when a much higher death toll was projected, we closed down to flatten the curve and not overwhelm the hospitals, not to get rid of the virus,” Kraemer said. “I really hope the state looks at the reality of our situation here with only 11 cases reported and all of them recovered.”
Kraemer said that although Hutsonville teachers did a good job adapting to the remote learning situation, there were challenges, especially in terms of internet access, especially for people who live in remote areas. “I’m worried that on all levels, remote learning is not a suitable replacement for face-to-face learning with a teacher in a classroom and students with their peers.”
Some remote learning may still need to be necessary, however. Parents of students with underlying health conditions may still not feel comfortable having their children be in close contact with others. In that case, Kraemer said some remote learning options could be possible.
Teachers in Hutsonville wrapped up the year with a teacher’s institute May 22. The staff at the schools have held weekly Google Meet meetings to keep as up-to-date as possible.
Hutsonville High School Principal Travis Titsworth said the high school graduation parade went better than expected. The community showed their support for the graduates by honking horns and shouting throughout the parade route.
He also noted the virtual awards night and Prom on the Go were big success and thanked Amanda Galey and Cindi Rummler and Randy Hawkins for their help putting the events together.
In other business, the board directed the superintendent to prepare a tentative budget for 2021. The budget must remain open for public inspection for 30 days before being officially adopted by the board. The deadline is Sept. 30.
The board also accepted a letter of resignation from Amy Hines and accepted the resignation of Audrey Glidewell. The board hired Brittany Sanchez as high school English language arts teacher.
The board also approved
• Release of closed session minutes
• A grade school maintenance project
• Hutsonville Education Association contract for 2021-25