(Nov. 20, 2020) The following took place during the monthly Board of Education meeting on Tuesday:
Superintendent Lou Taylor reminded the Worcester County Board of Education that all 14 county schools will remain in distance learning until Dec.1.
“We will be continuing to monitor the community statistics regarding covid-19, and we hold out hope that we will be able to move forward once again into Phase Two of our ‘Responsible Return’ model on Tuesday, Dec. 1,” Taylor said.
He said the school system tries to allow as much time as possible for families to plan with shifts of instruction.
Taylor also urged the community to wear face coverings, maintain six feet of social distancing, practice good hygiene and honestly complete health screenings.
“As we head into the holidays, as painful as it is, please I’m begging you today, don’t hold gatherings as the statistics show that this is how the majority of cases are spread,” Taylor said. “Please continue to educate yourselves before making decisions about travel.”
Riley Leonard, a senior at Snow Hill High School, said the annual Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports [PBIS] Thanksgiving Feast will take place on Nov. 24 to celebrate students who have received positive office referrals. Then, on Dec. 3, the high school will offer a make-up day for senior portraits with Lifetouch Inc.
She added that Snow Hill High School’s after-school academy programs have switched to virtual while all county public schools are closed until Dec. 1.
Dasia Conner, a senior at Pocomoke High School, said students are completing college applications and college acceptance letters are arriving.
“Each one of our scholarships are now on Navient for easy accessibility,” she added. “Our counseling office updates Navient daily with new scholarship offerings.”
She also expressed gratitude on behalf of her school for a grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore to finance activities for Worcester County Public Schools’ “MADE (Men Achieving Dreams through Education) Men” program. “MADE Men” a partnership between University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and Pocomoke High School, aims to inspire young men of color to pursue careers in education and provide support and mentorship throughout high school, college and their careers.
Conner added that students will soon meet via Zoom with Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first Black woman to build a billion-dollar company.
Eric Cropper Jr., a senior at Stephen Decatur High School, said furniture has been moved in the building to use space to accommodate students for in-person instruction in December.
“Our custodial staff has done an outstanding job of cleaning and disinfecting our school each day,” Cropper said. “By the end of the month, we hope to have most of our students participating in in-person instruction.”
The board recognized Dr. Dwayne Abt, chief safety and human relations officer for the county school system, and Cpl. Shawn Goddard with a proclamation in honor of National Safe Schools Week from Oct. 18-24.
Beth Shockley-Lynch, president of the Worcester County Teachers Association, accepted a proclamation for American Education Week this week. She also received a proclamation for National Educational Support Professionals Day on Nov. 18 on behalf of Worcester County NAACP President Ivory Smith.
Worcester County Public Schools Facilities Planner Joe Price said the Showell Elementary replacement project was substantially complete in August, but building commissioning will continue throughout the fall.
“Sod and planting at the front of the building and in the courtyard are complete,” Price said. “We’re doing miscellaneous site clean-up and restoration. The architect’s punch list is 95 percent complete and building commissioning is 75 percent complete.”
Taylor said Worcester County Public Schools are closed Nov. 25-27 for the holiday.
The public budget hearing will be held via conference call on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. The next board meeting will be held on Dec. 15. Two retiring members, Barry Brittingham Sr. and Sara Thompson, will be recognized.