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COVID concerns raised at USC

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Sep 26, 2021

Questions concerning the coronavirus were raised during the public comment portion of the United South Central School Board meeting last Tuesday night, Sept. 21.

A woman who said she was the mother to a second grade student attending the school asked if masks should be required to be worn, especially in the lower grades, since the vaccine has not yet been approved for younger people.

“My son wears a mask but I do not think many others do,” she said. “I am just wondering if it would be better if the young children were required to wear a mask.”

Another woman spoke up and shared her concerns regarding the ability to hire substitute teachers because of COVID-19.

“I think some substitute teachers, many who are older, hesitate to come and teach because people are not wearing masks,” she stated.

USC superintendent Keith Fleming addressed the situation, saying, “We have some kids out, as we thought we would, and we fully expected that. We will continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly.”

High school principal Julie Stauber reported the open house for high school students was well attended.

“We have a full schedule of activities planned for Homecoming week,” she noted. “The students are excited about that.”

She reported the number of students enrolled in grades 7-12 has remained steady at 327.

“The staff will be doing more peer reviews this year,” Stauber pointed out. “They view that as a positive thing.”

“Our enrollment in grades K-6 is up by five students from last month,” elementary principal Jennifer Taylor reported. “The elementary staff is enthusiastic about the new curriculum. They view it as detailed and very user friendly.”

She also reported the switch from iPads to Chromebooks has gone very well.

“The tech support team has been amazing,” Taylor said. “The transition has been seamless.”

Student Skylar Neubauer gave a report on FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America).

“Our chapter is working to broaden our leadership,” Neubauer noted. “We are also striving to become more active in the community.”

The board reviewed the current year operating budget and then certified the preliminary tax levy for next year at the maximum amount allowed, which is $3,539,464. That amount is $132,000 less than the levy for the current year.

The board set the Truth-in-Taxation meeting for Dec. 21, at 6 p.m.

A motion was passed to accept a bid from AgParts Education of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to purchase the surplus computers available from the school.

“The amount of money the district will receive will depend on how the computers grade out,” Fleming explained. “We anticipate the total to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000.”

The board also:

• Accepted the resignation of bus driver Jim Willner.

• Approved the hiring of elementary teacher Mikayla Wegner, special education teacher Adam Rajtar, van driver Karen Brandenburg, media associate Marie Galagan, cooks helper Shanaya Luecht and Ryan Murphey, who will work in the School Resource office.