GARRETT – With student safety a priority, several steps have been taken for the upcoming school year at the Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools which begins August 11.
Superintendent Tonya Weaver summarized the district’s school engagement policy regarding health protocols at Thursday’s school board meeting.
Under the scheme:
• Masks are optional for students and staff in school buildings.
• Social distancing will be practiced if necessary.
• COVID-19 vaccinations are not required by district or state, with vaccination information and locations available at vaccines.gov/.
• All extracurricular and extracurricular activities will run as normal.
• Safe and effective cleaning products will be used on all high touch areas in buildings and on buses.
• Parents and guardians will be encouraged to watch for symptoms and sick children should be kept home.
• Visitors and volunteers are welcome at schools in the district.
• Appropriate accommodations will be made for children with disabilities regarding health and safety policies.
• Students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly. Hand sanitizer will be available at all District facilities.
• No quarantine will be implemented and no contact tracing will be performed.
• Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools will continue to heed the advice of state and federal agencies and will continue to collaborate with the DeKalb County Health Department.
• The plan is subject to change to reflect current federal, state, and local guidelines or orders.
As a safety measure outside the classrooms, school buses are equipped with backlit “School Bus” signs above the front cabin for better visibility along routes. Lighting is being installed in the DeKalb Eastern Schools maintenance garage.
Garrett Middle School principal Lucas Fielden, who is also the school’s director of security, introduced a new security app for laptops, tablets, and phones that will interact with all administrators, instructors, aides, maintenance and other employees and the Garrett Police Department in the interest of emergency management. New security screens have also been installed on the classroom doors which block views from outside the room.
Administrators at all three buildings have expressed excitement for what they hope will be the first “normal” opening since COVID impacted classes more than two years ago.
A “back to school evening” is scheduled for Thursday, August 4 for all students, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at JE Ober elementary school and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in middle and high schools. Class times are Monday to Thursday at 8:15 a.m. at JE Ober and Monday to Thursday at 8 a.m. in college in high schools. Classes in all buildings have a late start on Fridays at 8:45 a.m.
High school principal Matt Smith announced the return of the Character Counts program featuring his six character pillars in the fall. Originally started 20 years ago at Garrett, the high school had implemented a different curriculum over the past two years.
Students at Garrett-Keyser-Butler School will see no increase in lunch fees for the upcoming school year, and all students will be entitled to a universal free breakfast, Weaver said.
Elementary students will pay $2.50 per lunch, secondary students will pay $2.60.
The board approved two gifts for the Career Development Program, including $200,000 from the Dekko Foundation and $25,000 from Daryle and Brenda Doden; plus a $10,000 donation from Walter and Joanna Comer for the scholarship in their name.
A teacher appreciation grant policy, a 2022-2023 gift card resolution, an agreement with Weller Grant Services, a cross-local facility agreement for CHOICE House, and permission for four instructors to attend a conference of the Research Council on Mathematics Learning in Las Vegas were also approved.
A statement to dedicate Johanna Court in adding Brennen Estates school-owned housing to the city has been approved by council pending signatures from city officials.
In addition to leave, the board approved several personnel items. They understand:
• Hiring of Mike Schenkel as Director of Buildings and Grounds, Jim Schenkel as Maintenance Technician, Kody Linville as Custodian; Sandra Anderson as a bus driver and Kara Molargik as an eighth grade math teacher; and
• The resignations of Kyler Deverna-Perez as a high school English teacher, Shannon Harmon as a high school guidance counselor and John Blomeke as a cafeteria worker.
Erin Howard, a middle school math teacher, moved on to a job as a high school guidance counselor.
The board approved these high school coaches in addition to those returning this year:
• Austin Johnson, Brody Dixon, Cordell Camp and Corey Schoon as assistant football coaches; Chance Hinkle as assistant cross country coach; and Jordan Baer as a volunteer cheer coach; and
• The resignations of Sam Malcolm as assistant cross country coach, and Kyler Deverna-Perez and Jason Richards as assistant football coaches.
In college, approved coaches include assistant cheering coach Saylor Seifert; Ethan Harter as assistant football coach; Kelly Flotow as eighth grade volleyball coach, Alexandria Gottfried as seventh grade volleyball coach; and Olivia Ice as a sixth-grade volleyball coach.
Austin Johnson’s resignations as football coach; Jen Custer as the sixth grade girls’ basketball coach; and Sam Malcolm as a men’s basketball coach were also endorsed.