The Bedford Area School District intends to begin the school year with a full-time, in-person schedule.
The school board at its meeting Tuesday night approved an updated health and safety plan regarding its ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our recommendation is to have school. Every kid, every day,” Superintendent Dr. Allen Sell told the board.
Students will be returning to full-time, in-person learning and will not be required to wear face coverings in school buildings, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.
“Masks will be encouraged but not mandated,” Sell said.
The superintendent did note that it is still undetermined whether students will be mandated to wear masks while on the school bus. He said state mandates requiring masks on public transportation currently apply to school buses.
Sell also warned that the district still must follow any changes in state mandates.
“The school does not have the ability to just ignore laws,” he said.
Last summer the board initially intended to have students return with full-time schedules, but later had to switch to a hybrid schedule due to changes in state mandates.
“A lot can happen between now and the start of school,” Sell said.
The district will follow other CDC guidelines as part of the plan, including having three-feet social distancing between students, when practical.
A number of parents and community members attended the meeting and applauded when board president Tom Bullington told the group at the start of the meeting that the updated plan intended to school to normal. None spoke about the plan during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“We intend to have school as normal, as much as we possibly are allowed to by the powers at be,” Bullington said. “It would be our intent to have school just like we all remembered.”
Hyndman talks continue
Sell briefly updated the school board on the ongoing negotiations with the HOPE for Hyndman Charter School.
Last month the board approved an agreement to have the charter school lease its building for $250,000 per year, plus an additional $11 per month for each Bedford Area student enrolled.
But the district and charter school officials still must come to an agreement on a new five-year charter.
Sell on Tuesday said the two sides are still discussing current academic progress and “what happens if progress is not made.”
The district school board in January approved a motion indicating it planned not to renew the charter due to the school failing to meet certain academic goals outlined in the agreement, but Sell said at the time the district would continue negotiations.
The school board also approved:
— The resignation of Marli Swope as an art teacher at the elementary school, and transferred Lauren Logsdon to the position.
— Devon Lybarger of Bedford as the instrumental music teacher/band director at the high school.
— The resignation of Megan Whisel as the middle school nurse assistant, and the hiring of Vickie Styer of Bedford to fill the position at $15 per hour.
— The retirement of Terry Lafferty, high school custodian. He has been with the district since 1996.
— A contract with Laurel Life for $455,000 to provide transition classrooms, including alternative education programs, special education services and therapists at the middle and high schools.
— A contract with Snyder Bus Lines for athletic and activity trips for the school year at a rate of $2.05 per mile and $15.60 per hour for layover time.
— A bid from Snyder Bus Lines of $35,000 for the fleet of the district’s school buses.