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BOE sets next 10 NTI days, spring break; over 2,000 meals delivered daily

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SALYERSVILLE – The Magoffin County School board met in regular session via a teleconference on Tuesday, practicing social distancing while still keeping the public up to date on the school system.

While the governor has signed the bill that would extend unlimited NTI days to school districts, at the time of the meeting held on March 24 and streamed live on the school district’s Facebook page, the Kentucky Department of Education had only instructed districts to plan for 10 additional days.

Superintendent Scott Helton explained the next 10 NTI days will start on Monday, March 30. They will have NTI days all next week (March 30 through April 3), the week after that (April 6 through 10)will be spring break, and then the next week (April 13 through 17) will also be NTI days, with the tentative day back as April 20. 

Helton said nothing has been defined as far as graduation, though he hopes they will be able to plan something for this summer. He will meet with principals about the senior trip, which will be decided later this week.

Meanwhile, the district has been feeding approximately 2,000 meals daily to students’ homes, with Helton thanking the cooks, bus drivers, classified personnel, teachers and volunteers from the community for helping out with this program.

“Everyone is doing a good job and this is one big objective, but we’re doing pretty good,” Helton said.

With each meal delivered, a non-perishable breakfast is also included for the next morning.

Helton also commended the parents for watching for the buses and helping them make sure each child gets a meal.

Helton said in trying to adhere to the CDC’s recommendations of social distancing,  they have cut down to a “skeleton staff” at each building in the district, but commended the teachers for preparing and working with their students daily online, the classified staff for cleaning the buildings and helping prepare and deliver meals, and everyone who has been chipping in to fill all the holes this extended shutdown has caused.

While school is tentatively set to reopen on April 20, he said he looks for that to be extended and that the state will decide around May 1 what to do about the remainder of the school year. 

The end-of-the-year assessments have been canceled, also, the commissioner of education announced earlier this week.

“We’re just taking it a couple weeks at a time,” Helton said about making scheduling decisions.

He also said the district staff is working to make sure they apply for waivers or extensions on any grants they have received for this school year, with hopes that they will able to roll over that money to the next school year.

Helton encouraged the public to follow the Magoffin County Schools Facebook page, which will post any changes to the calendar.

As for spring break, he explained that the Primary Election afforded them one day and he asked the board to approve another day, to be added to the end of the calendar, to give the students a full week off.

“It’s not an easy time for them, either, and they need a few days off to not have to worry about NTI work,” Helton said.

The board passed the changes Helton requested for the calendar, with Board Vice-Chair Jesse Rudd saying,

“I think it’s a great idea to give them a little break. This leads us up to Easter and we all need to be praying hard this COVID-19 goes away. We need to pray a little extra.”

Helton agreed with Rudd, saying, “I want everyone to understand this is a trying time and we need to remember our people in prayer. This is something we’re not used to and out of the norm. It’s affecting us and the entire country and we need to take heed of our leaders. Remember mental health is important. Take a few minutes to get away from the news. I know you want your children to not fall behind and we’ll get the materials out, but they need a few breaks and remember the physical and mental sides of this. Make the best out of the situation and enjoy your time with your family.”

Board Chairman Rodney Ward thanked Helton for keeping the community informed and said, “I know it’s frustrating in regards to seniors and extra-curriculars canceled, but this is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an ongoing process. Thank you to the teachers and the parents, which are in a great partnership that is so important, with both parts making sure the children are doing the best they can during this time. I’m so proud of them to feed over 2,000 meals a day and it’s extraordinary they are getting those to the homes.”

As this situation develops, the Independent will continue to report any changes at the local school level.

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