Jeff Tech adopts protocols for the start of school

Getting prepared for the upcoming school year was the focus of the Jeff Tech Operating Committee meeting held August 3 in the school gymnasium.

The committee approved the Jeff Tech Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan for the coming school year. This comprehensive plan covers safety protocols for both students and staff when they return later this month. (To read the entire plan, see below.)

The protocols follow the CDC and State Department of Health guidelines. They will include such items as:

*Adjusting transportation schedules and practices to create social distancing between students.

*Extra desks or tables will be removed to allow for social distancing.

*Students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms.

*Water fountains will be turned off and water bottles utilized.

*Computer labs will not be used since mobile devices will be assigned to individual students.

*Health monitoring of students, faculty and staff will take place.

*Isolating or quarantining students, staff or visitors if they become sick or demonstrate a history of exposure

*Required use of face coverings. Masks will be made available for all students, staff, and admitted visitors. Face shields will be made available to all staff.

*Staff, parent, and student education COVID-19 and its prevention.

The plan can be revised if necessary to meet the current need.

In addition, the committee approved the purchase of three temperature-checking kiosks using monies from the COVID-119 Safety Grant. The committee also approved the purchase of 240 Lenovo laptop computers with those monies. That grant totals $90,000.

Dr. Fillman

Dr. Fillman praised the custodial and nonadministrative staff for all the hard work this summer to make the school ready for opening later this month. The custodial staff has been completing the regular summer cleaning protocols with added measures to ensure deep cleaning and sanitation.

Faculty and staff report August 24. Students will begin classes August 27.

Click on the link to the right to read the entire plan: jefftechplan

New hires

On the subject of the new school year, new hires were introduced, including Cara Davenport, who will be the Practical Nursing Coordinator, and Amber Hathorn, who will head up the newly-created Special Education Department. (To read the original story on the department, click here.)

Hathorn outlined her goals for the that department, which include helping the staff to “better understand special education and the various methods to successfully co-teach, assist[ing] in making the transition to Jeff Tech Special Education Department as seamless as possible, and implement[ing] a student-led IEP meeting approach.”

Hathorn introduced eight department staff members, who each addressed the board and talked about their goals for the coming year. The new hires include Casey Burkett, a 2012 graduate of Jeff Tech, and Haley McCombs, who just graduated from the school this past May.

In later remarks, school director Dr. Barry Fillman informed the committee that through various means, including a grant that covered the cost of two full time employees, the special education department came in $215,000 under budget.

Farm to Table

Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik

Prior to the meeting, the committee received more information on a proposed Farm to Table initiative in coordination with Jefferson County.

Jefferson County Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik addressed the committee to outline the program, which would involve the meat processing process, from farm to butchering to distribution to the table. Students would learn the trade of butchering and processing beef and pork raised in this area.

Commissioner Pisarcik, himself a processor, said the COVID-19 shutdown showed how vulnerable the meat system is and how great the need is for processing professionals.

Right now, the idea is in the preliminary stages with no time line established as of yet.

When asked how much it would cost, school director Dr. Barry Fillman stated, “We’re in the process of figuring that out. There are a lot of moving pieces.”

The committee was very enthusiastic about the idea and encouraged further investigation.

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