By Elise Fisch
The Florida Union Free School District Board of Education held a public hearing on their revised district-wide safety plan during their regular meeting on Thurs., Oct. 15. The adoption of a safety plan is an annual requirement of all districts, and there was a necessity this year to include the details that came about during the coronavirus pandemic.
The safety plan was prepared per state Education Department requirements and is intended to act as a guide during emergencies and violent incidents. Revisions made to the plan for the 2020-2021 school year include changes in contact information, updated police service agreements, and the addition of the district’s COVID-19 reopening plan. The full 20-page document of the district-wide safety plan can be accessed by the public on the district’s website (floridaufsd.org).
The district received one of their new walk-through thermal scanners, which are expected to be more efficient than the wrist scanners currently installed at the doorways. The scanner itself was “not what we’d hoped,” in the words of superintendent Jan Jehring, but the district has decided to utilize these scanners at the front entryway of S.S Seward once the construction of the entrance vestibule has been completed. The safety vestibules for the entrances of Seward and Golden Hill arrived broken and with the wrong colors on the doors. The corrected items are expected to be installed at the school buildings in November.
The new athletic fields have been seeded, but concerns are being raised about the possibility of a frost as temperatures begin to drop. Board members are prepared to resort to sod if the seeding is unsuccessful but are hopeful that the situation won’t come to that. Using sod will be a more expensive endeavor, about $30,000 more than the cost of the seed, but will mean the fields are ready to be used sooner than waiting for the seed to grow. Though the seed will take a longer time than sod, the rooted grass will be less costly to maintain and the grass will hold up against athletic usage much better than turf grass.
District parents will have the opportunity to enroll in Parent University, which will consist of a series of seminars wherein they can learn about the technology involved in their child’s school day. The purpose of the University is to educate parents primarily on the Chromebooks and Google platforms that students are using to connect to their classrooms virtually.
Dana Castine, district director of math, science, and technology, believes that these seminars, if attended, will aid in cutting down on the number of technical issues that interfere with remote learning. This program will give parents at home the tools and knowledge they may need to fix technological issues when they arise, and will allow faculty to help other families who may be in need.
The Parent University program will be offered at morning and evening times throughout the week so as to allow for more attendance depending on the work schedule of interested parents. Specific time and date information will be forthcoming.
The next meeting of the Florida Union Free School District Board of Education will be on Thurs., Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the S.S. Seward cafeteria at 51 N. Main St. in Florida.