School Plans Contingent On COVID-19

Screenshots by Judy Smestad-Nunn

  BRICK – The April 9 Board of Education meeting was virtual for the second time, due to the ongoing stay at home mandate due to the coronavirus.

  “All of us are being challenged in a different way during this crisis,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas G. Farrell. “I really believe it’s how we respond to this adversity that will help determine a positive outcome.”

  The school district is making decisions on a daily basis to best protect the health and safety of the entire learning community while collaborating with proactive plans that would result in a better, stronger, more resilient district once some normalcy returns, Farrell said.

  The superintendent thanked the teaching staff for their efforts during this time of home instruction.

  Dr. Farrell said he was able to virtually “pop in” on some classes, and he said it makes his day when he sees some of the students collaborating online and communicating with their teachers.

  “That was kind of fun, and that’s something we’re all trying to do – even central office administrators – stay connected with our students,” he said.

  Since it was a virtual Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Farrell said that the agenda was very condensed. Going forward, he said he wants to go back to “standard business,” starting this week when there would be some virtual committee meetings and reports.

  “We’re slowly building up these meetings so that when we do have some more virtual meetings we’ll be able to do more presentations and things…” he said.

  Students, parents and staff are much in need of the upcoming spring break, Farrell said, because remote learning is stressful.

  “Mental health is so important right now, so we could all use the time to disconnect, take a breath, reflect and recharge,” Farrell said. “I hope everyone takes the time over break to kind of reenergize, so when we come back we’re up for this challenge.”

  During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Tony Zurica said the family had filled out a preschool application for his grandson, but they hadn’t heard anything back from the district.

  Director of Special Services Kristen Hanson said the deadline has been extended so people are still applying.

Screenshots by Judy Smestad-Nunn

  “We are going through all of the applications right now, and we will be sending out the lottery numbers probably the first week in May,” Hanson said.

  Board of Education President Stephanie Wohlrab said that after a preschool application has been submitted, parents should get a notice saying that the application has been received.

  That’s true, Hanson said. After the application has been received and the paperwork gets reviewed, it goes through two approval processes.

“If there was anything missing, we would be reaching out to you for missing items, and then once that is done, we will be sending out the lottery numbers,” she said.

  Superintendent Farrell added that no one knows if school will be in session by June for graduation, but noted that high school graduations and senior proms are very important events.

  “I can’t give a realistic answer,” he said. “All I can give you is my word that [we’re] working hard to keep those events as a memory for our seniors.”

  He said central administration is discussing various ideas in daily meetings, and there is “no game plan yet.”

  The next Board of Education meeting will be a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. April 30 when there will be a public hearing on the 2020-2021 school year budget.