Area educators continue to adapt to coronavirus impact

Central Lee board approves leave pay on 4-week rolling basis

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

WEST BURLINGTON – The landscape of suspended educational systems continues to change as the coronavirus spreads throughout the state and nation.

On Monday evening, Southeastern Community College made the decision to close all dormitories on March 27 and will be shutting down most on-site learning for the semester with the exception of some laboratory and vocational classes.

Jeff Ebbing, SCC’s Director of Marketing and Communications, said the college’s infrastructure is strong enough to allow most activities to be moved online.

“We’re going to full online classes for the rest of the semester, except in some cases where classes are lab and clinical focused,” he said. “Those situations will be determined by instructors, but you can’t paint a car online.”

Ebbing said since every sport has been canceled there is no reason to have students stay on site and it is probably be safer for them to go home.

Ebbing said the campus will still be open for students and prospective students who need college staff assistance.

But he said he’s not concerned with any close quarters virus issues with student and administrative services still reporting to work. He said the administration is allowing those employees to space out in the extra classrooms that are now available.

“Since we know we have classrooms and labs available, people are allowed to move to different spaces. We’re giving people the flexibility to do that, but a lot of folks will be allowed to work from home.”

He also said the kitchen is staffed by a third-party contractor and those services will also end on Friday since very few students will on campus.

Operationally the campus will still be open to students and staff, but not to general traffic. Ebbing said with fall registration around the corner, current students should be able to do almost everything online to get ready for the next semester.

But he said incoming first-time students usually are seen by counselors when registering for the first semester. He said those students can call in to the counseling offices and enrollment staff will help with that scheduling, but 99% of what they need can be found online. He said arrangements can also be made with Zoom meetings and video conferencing.

“We just don’t want to turn anyone away,” he said. “We’re encouraging everything to be done online if you are current students. Some prefer to do things in person and our enrollment folks are helping them with that.

CENTRAL LEE SCHOOLS

The Central Lee school board approved a rolling 4-week paid leave at a shortened telemeeting Monday night.

Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier said the district is trying to find jobs for all staff that may or may not be school focused.

“We’re trying to find responsibilities that are not just jobs, but need-based and purposeful,” he said. “Maybe not focused on school district, but the community.”

Crozier said the pandemic resolution passed unanimously by the board includes language that gives him authority to extend closures and the paid leave.

“Obviously, I’m not going to do that without the governor’s recommendations, but I think this is the right thing to do for our staff,” Crozier said.

The board also approved the purchase of two new buses from Blue Bird at a cost of about $96,000 each. Crozier said he wanted to get the purchases approved at that price, in case economic conditions worsen and the prices increase for whatever reason. The buses will hold 77 passengers each.

A new seatbelt law has pushed the prices of the buses up about 12% this year.

Central Lee food service staff is also delivering home meals to any students regardless of family income. Any family interested in deliveries is encouraged to call the school offices. The district’s website can be accessed by clicking here: www.centrallee.org

FORT MADISON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Fort Madison Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater said a new on-line learning resources button was added to the district’s website Monday and the district continues to update COVID-19 information daily.

Chromebooks have also been handed out for home use during the suspension,” she said.

“We handed out close to 200 electronic devices to families with students in grades K-8 Friday afternoon.  We had a drive-thru delivery service stationed at the high school.  Students in grades 9-12 at FMHS take their chromebooks home daily so they already had them at home,” Slater said.

Families can contact central office if they could not make it Friday and their students does not have a device at home, but Slater said all students who’ve requested a chromebook through Monday have received one.

The district continues to provide meals from 11 to 11:30 a.m. at ten locations listed on the website. Those meals are provided Monday through Friday to any student regardless of income. The website can be accessed by clicking here: www.fmcsd.org/

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: