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Newly vaccinated schools look to student activities

LISBON — With the majority of local school staff members receiving their first doses of coronavirus vaccines, the superintendent of the county Educational Service Center said schools are turning their attention toward finishing out the school year while providing as many opportunities as possible for students.

Anna Marie Vaughn said members of the ESC and some smaller schools will be receiving their second dose on March 10, while the county health department will be providing a second dose at six of the county schools on March 11. Other schools made other arrangements, but Vaughn said all have started the vaccination process.

Additionally, the schools are in the process of identifying and making other arrangements for school staff members who were absent or unavailable the day the first doses were given for their school.

Board President Richard Stoudt said the county health department is doing a fantastic job and the cooperation between the ESC staff, the health department and the schools is for the mutual benefit of everyone in the county.

At this time, Vaughn said local schools are turning their attention toward proms, graduations, musicals and other events, looking at ways to do them as safely as possible and still give students the experience. Schools also are planning summer programming in order to catch their students up or provide enrichment opportunities as students have lost out on so much over the past year.

Vaughn said significant federal funding is available to schools, which will have a couple of years in order to use the money for programs.

At the ESC, the usual events of the winter and spring are also taking on a different look. Currently on the Columbiana County ESC Facebook page is a link to the annual county art show, a slideshow of the submissions for this year’s virtual show.

The spelling bee will also be a virtual event and Vaughn said they are looking for options for the Heads Above the Rest celebration banquet, which had to be canceled last year due to the pandemic.

“I do appreciate all of the things people are doing, the ESC included, to try to bring some kind of normalcy to a very unprecedented time,” said board member Jackie Mercer. “We’re a year into this, which is insane, and I just appreciate all of the efforts to work with everybody to make sure the kids get something rather than nothing.”

Vaughn agreed the school districts seem dedicated to make certain students who lost everything last year at the end of the year do not lose out again even if everything looks different. Additionally, Vaughn said the students have been super cooperative, willing to do anything in order to gain opportunities such as sports and activities.

“I think we’re all concerned,” Stoudt said, “everyone should be concerned about the effects this pandemic is having on the education of our kids. This effort to get people vaccination and some return to normalcy, if there is such a thing anymore, as far as art shows and spelling bees and recognition dinners, those things are important to kids… keep up the good work.”

In other matters:

— The board approved a 2021 property management proposal from Smith Landscaping Inc.

— The board accepted the resignation of Heather B. Reed, mental health assistant and approved FMLA leave and unpaid leave for Melissa Miller.

— The board also approved Jennifer Dailey as a substitute teacher and Jennifer Galanis as a substitute academic leader for Lisbon’s Learning’s Cool After School program.

— The board approved hiring Annestasia Cushman, Roxanne Finley, Larissa Burgess and Ryan Kuhns as paraeducators, as well as Chelsea Toot and Eric Martin as substitute paraeducators.

— Christopher McKinnon was hired as an activity leader for Crestview’s Learning’s Cool After School program.

— Sugar and Scrubs was approved for a consignment agreement with the Reach for the STARS store in Salem.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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