The bulk of the August 19 virtual business meeting was a discussion between Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani and the Board of Education trustees about the reopening of District schools. During the Superintendent Report, Dr. Giani remarked about the success of the three previously scheduled Zoom parent meetings and noted that the District is well ahead of what is required by New York State in terms of providing informational meetings for parents.

After reviewing the District plans for reopening schools on September 8, the Board of Education unanimously approved the plan, with all information posted on the District website at www.southcountry.org. During his report, Dr. Giani gave an update on the plan, which is a hybrid model. Also reviewed were three government-required items, including plans for contact tracing, testing, and distance and remote learning options. Dr. Giani noted that the District does not test for COVID-19. Other items for discussion included plans for social distancing, mask break policy, IT support for parents, ability to shift between hybrid and remote learning, whether to allow children to play on the playground equipment, how to deal with attendance issues and classroom ventilation. The information discussed can be reviewed on the District’s recorded YouTube channel.

The Board of Education also approved a $150,000 budget transfer to cover the costs of COVID-19 supplies. Dr. Giani agreed with the trustees that there could be additional transfers to cover the cost of pandemic supplies.

Other Board actions included the approval of a budget transfer to cover retroactive and retiree payouts per contracts to meet correct salary codes. The Board also authorized and established a limit to fund reserves for the year ending 2019-2020 as a way to establish District reserves in the areas of Employee Benefit Accrued Liability, Retirement Contribution, Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Reserves.

The Board also appointed Board of Education President E. Anne Hayes, Trustees Clyde Parker and Chris Picini and community member, Christine LaScala, to serve on the 2020-2021 District Audit Committee.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on September 9.