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Ebrg schools following COVID mandates well

Edinburg — The Edinburg Board of Education held a regular meeting on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. in the dis- trict media center.

Superintendent Ben Theilen told the Board that the entire dis- trict was doing exceptionally well following the Governor’s COVID mandates. According to the mandate, all school staff were required to be either vaccinated or comply with being tested weekly for COVID-19. To facilitate this, Theilen made certain the district was able to administer on-site rapid COVID testing, which he adminis- ters and oversees.

“It’s getting easier as we go,” He shared, stating that the district had also managed to keep their COVID numbers and quarantine cases low across all the schools. In order to keep the best interests of the students at heart, Theilen had two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the teaching union about remote learn- ing days in case an entire class or school building did have to go fully remote because of COVID quarantines.

Theilen first explained that both MOUs would expire at the end of the school year or once the Governor’s mandate ended, whichev- er event happened first. In the MOU, teachers were to make sure that, in a case where their entire class had to go full remote, they were still providing personal quality instruction. Using the Go Guardian software installed on all the Edinburg Chromebooks, the instructors would be able to monitor the screens of students and make certain they were actually doing their assigned work and not watching YouTube. The Board approved both MOUs.

Also in an effort to help students regain lost ground caused by COVID, Assistant Principal Kevin Qualters shared that the 6th and 7th grade students are getting extra math lessons. While Qualters was upset that the lessons took time away from the new STEM lab, he explained that they were focusing on catching the students back up to where they should be. Towards that end, interventions were provided in math and English to help students in need.

Qualters told the Board that the elementary students would be doing their Halloween Parade this year at the bank. He said the parade would happen on Friday, October 29, and that the community and parents were invited to come by and cheer the students on.

Returning to a subject from the September meeting, Theilen once again spoke to the Board about the possibility of switching district insurance away from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Most fam- ilies and residents in the district use Springfield Clinic for their medical needs. However, once November comes, Blue Cross Blue Shield will make Springfield Clinic an out of network health care provider. In and effort to keep Springfield Clinic in network, Theilen had been looking at other insurance providers. Both United Health and Health Alliance were possi- bilities.
Theilen did warn that some employees would have to pay a lot more on their end for the insurance if the district made the switch to one of those two providers. However, Theilen remind- ed the Board that the new insurance bidding would have to be done in June regardless of what they decided, so even if they did switch now, the employees would only have to pay more for a couple of months. Theilen said he would talk to the union and bring their thoughts before the Board soon.

District bookkeeper Kerry Sims submitted her resignation to the Board. The Board declined to accept her resignation, instead reworking her position to payroll assistant so that Sims could continue to assist with the payroll until someone to replace her could be hired and trained. Sims will be coming to work for the Taylorville School District.

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