School year in Bexley has many unknowns in schedule, activities

CHRIS BOURNEA
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ThisWeek group

The Bexley City Schools Reopening Task Force continues to explore options for a hybrid of in-person classes and remote learning when the 2020-21 school year starts on Aug. 20 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller said.

The task force has been meeting and gathering research about COVID-19 conditions in Franklin County throughout July and plans to give a report with recommendations at the board's next monthly meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, in the Cassingham Complex Community Room, 348 S. Cassingham Road.

The group is considering plans that would correspond to Ohio's alert-level system related to the spread of coronavirus, according to the district's website, bexley-schools.org. Under Level 1 and 2, the lowest levels, the district could consider an all-in plan with students attending Mondays through Fridays while maintaining at least 3 feet of distance in classrooms.

Under Level 3, the district could have a hybrid model in which all K-12 students would attend school on an A/B group configuration, according to the district's website. The A group would attend in person on Mondays and Tuesdays while the other group works from home. The B group would attend on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays would be utilized for a variety of educational options. Principals and teachers, along with central-office staff, have formed work groups to work on details.

Under Level 4, the highest level of concern, all students could learn remotely Mondays through Fridays.

While considering what to do about instruction, there also are questions regarding extracurricular activities.

The board voted 5-0 on July 7 to approve a memorandum of understanding between the district and the Bexley Education Association, the teachers' union, that gives the district flexibility in paying athletics coaches and the Bexley High School marching band director, depending on how and if sports will be held throughout the school year.

"If we're unable to move forward with certain activities, we want to be responsible to our community and not pay for things that we can't do," Miller said during the meeting. "But if we're able to do anything partially, we want to be fair and pay people for that. It's our hope that everything moves forward as planned in a typical year. But we also know it's not typical."

According to the memorandum, all coaches will be hired and paid 25% of each of their supplemental contract with the district once the first two weeks of practice take place and then monthly thereafter. A month is realized once two weeks of practice take place in the new month. If less than two weeks of practice are held, coaches will be paid on a daily rate for those days when practice took place. The daily rate would be calculated by dividing the supplemental amount by 90 days.

"In a very typical year, we hire coaches throughout the year for various athletics," Miller said.

The memorandum states the marching band director will be paid an additional $2,500 of the supplemental contract for summer band camp.

The remainder will be paid based upon the number of football games in the season, divided by the number of games. If the district determines the marching band will not attend away games, the director will still be paid for that week's game.

The assistant band director will be paid $1,500 for summer band camp. The remainder of the supplemental contract will be paid based upon the number of football games in the season, with the same arrangement as the marching band director.

Board member Victoria Powers said that if all football games and activities are held throughout the 2020-21 school year, the total cost of the marching band director's compensation would be $6,116. The total cost of the assistant marching band director's compensation would be between $2,040 and $4,075.

"We don't know yet how all these different pieces will come out in terms of what's going to happen with COVID," Powers said.

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