By Elise Fisch
Representatives from BBS Architects stood before the Florida School Board on Thurs., Oct. 1 to provide an update on the on the district’s capital project.
Excavation Uncovers Poor Soil Conditions
Excavation has been delayed at the Golden Hill Elementary School due to poor soil conditions. Large deposits of shale and other stone that weren’t detected in the first assessment were discovered back in July, but no developments were made until as late as September, as BBS was in negotiations with the soil company who did the initial appraisal. Due to this oversight, there will be a 36% increase of cost on this portion of the project, a tough bullet to bite considering the federal budget cuts the district suffered last month.
Not wanting to mar their fifteen-year relationship with the district, BBS Architects promised to do everything within their power to ensure no future hurdles cause such a delay in construction.
FPL Proposes Storywalk Path,
New Mini Free Library
Beth Verblaauw of the Florida Public Library presented before the Board an idea for a storywalk path in the area near the cross country track. The path would be decorated with plants and flowers and adorned by a row of laminated, printed cards containing parts of a story written out on each one. Students could walk the path and read the story as they go, an easy way to stay socially distant while getting a break from their screens indoors.
The second proposal Verblaauw brought to the Board was for a new Mini Free Library outside of the school building. The new Mini Free Library was inspired by the success of the one on Main St. and will be dedicated to the memory of one of the library’s long-time volunteers.
Interscholastic sports will be entering its first phase in the high school during the week of Oct. 5, providing coronavirus cases don’t begin to spike. Programs will be separated by sport and grade level, and remote learners are welcome to enroll with as much priority as students who are on premises. The first three weeks of the program will be outdoors only, and drills will be strength, endurance, and agility training with no sport skill specification.
Phase Two will bring in the 7th and 8th graders and will consist of both indoor and outdoor activities that include sports-related skills. There will be hard caps on capacity per session as the program moves into its indoor phase, as the full gym can safely accommodate only 20 students while socially distancing.
Students will be required to wear masks at all times and bring a water bottle labeled with their name. No locker rooms will be available, students are expected to arrive in their athletic wear. Currently, phase two is scheduled to begin on Oct. 26, but Gov. Cuomo reserves the right to push back the date if conditions concerning the virus seem hazardous.
Change of Learning Options
Parents will have the option to change their child’s schedule from full remote learning to the half remote, half in-person style of learning. Families will need to decide and let the district know by Mon., Oct. 19, and the change will go into effect on Mon., Nov. 9, the beginning of the new marking period. The district is prepared to accommodate 75% of the student body attending in-person throughout the week, and the possibility exists that some students will not be able to make the switch if there are too many participants. District Superintendent Jan Jehring believes that the numbers will even out as some students make the decision to switch from in-person to a full remote structure.
The next meeting of the Florida Union Free School District Board of Education will be on Thurs., Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in the S.S. Seward cafeteria at 51 N. Main St. in Florida.