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Belpre BOE discusses COVID-19, student meals

Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley spoke Monday to the Belpre City Schools Board of Education. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

BELPRE — The Belpre City Schools Board of Education held its second meeting of the school year Monday evening at the Stone Administration Building/Early Learning Center

Despite the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in Ohio, Superintendent Jeff Greenley said Belpre City Schools are doing well after having its first quarantine with three individuals since the September board meeting and another positive case confirmed by the Marietta Health Department on Oct.16.

With contact tracing, Belpre City Schools found that the majority of the positive cases occurred outside of school, he said.

Greenley said everyone in the community has to do their part to get positive numbers down with the start of flu season coming soon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Oct. 9 it would allow schools to offer free meals to all children through the current academic year. In the last board meeting, it was announced that Belpre City Schools would be offering free meals to its students through the end of 2020.

All students regardless of income status will receive a free breakfast and lunch meal for each school day. The program was supposed to last until Dec. 31 or when federal funding is depleted.

Despite the free meals, Belpre City Schools still advises students to submit the free/reduced meal applications “as a portion of our funding is dependent on those forms,” said district Treasurer Lance Erlwein.

“So we’re very grateful to the federal government for that. Keeping kids healthy and fed is a priority now more than ever,” Greenley said. “So this will enable districts like ours all across the country to make sure that kids, whether virtual, in-person, hybrid, wherever they may be can have access to free meals during the course of the pandemic.”

It is also School Bus Safety Week at Belpre City Schools which officially recognizes the important contributions made by school bus drivers, mechanics, coordinators, and other support staff in the transportation department in serving students, staff, and families in Belpre schools.

“It’s just an opportunity for us to say thank you to our professionals that drive our buses, that repair buses, that do the servicing. To make sure kids get to and from safely, these are professionals in every sense of the word. They have CDL’s which means they could drive rigs but unlike rigs, they’ve got kids in the back and kids don’t always sit down and listen. There’s no better help.” Greenley said.

The board approved the donations of $21.50 Campus box media donation to athletics and calculator donations from Erin and Dawn Rexroad to Belpre High School. Included in the donation were 14 Casio FX300ES, five Casio FX115ES, and five Casio FX991EX. Another donation of $200 from both Timothy and Jenny Byars and Orion Engineered Carbons went to the high school boys basketball program.

The board also approved $151,466.16 l of BroadbandOhio Connectivity Fund 510-9921 and $18,340 for the “Share Our Strengths No Hungry Kid Grant.” Belpre City Schools will use its IT Savvy contract to utilizes the BroadbandOhio service.

Being placed on the light poles at the football stadium, the connection will cover everything east of the field and up to 50 users can use the connection at once. Greenley is most excited for is that the connection will be straight from Belpre, meaning they will have their own privacy safeguards with content filters and supervision to make sure students have access to appropriate content even in their own homes.

The board approved a Memorandum of Understanding agreement between the BEA and Belpre City Schools regarding a delay in deadlines for teacher observations. Under the current contract, the first observation has to occur within the next few days.

Belpre High School marching band will be having a free public performance at 6 p.m. Friday at Ralph Holder Stadium. Social distancing and masks will be required on school grounds.

Before the meeting started, Board President Leonard Wiggins held a moment of silence for Robert Wallace, who passed away on Oct. 5. Wallace was an assistant principal at Belpre High School for four years and was the principal for 10 years, in addition to serving as a school board member for four years.

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