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Lebanon increases kids’ time in school

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Despite Linn County being elevated back into the “High” risk category for COVID, Lebanon schools will still be able to increase school days as planned, Supt. Bo Yates told Lebanon School Board members April 8.
As of Wednesday, April 14, elementary and middle schools are now in attendance five days a week, and high school students for four days.
“We have been provided more flexibility from the governor in how we move forward,” Yates said. “I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to keep moving forward. I foresee that, as long as we do not have outbreaks within our school, we’ll continue to be moving forward.”
The biggest challenge the district has at this point is transportation, he said, noting that the buses have to do three separate runs to get all the kids to school, with sanitation cleaning between each run.
Yates expects a little confusion when the schools increase their in-person learning, he said.
“We’ve set up for the distancing for lunch, which has to be at six feet,” he said. “There’s barriers built everywhere, desks spaced appropriately, we’ll be using some of the bleachers to ensure that we’re following the guidance provided to us.”
Since school was partially reopened in February, one student tested positive for COVID, but otherwise there have been “zero issues,” Yates told the Lebanon Local.
“The one thing that we’ve experienced is kids’ behavior is fantastic,” he said. “I think people are just kind of relieved and are excited about having some sense of normalcy.”
In other business, the school board:
n Discussed a pool renovation plan using a proposed bond that could possibly be placed on the ballot in May 2022. Board members looked at a drawing for a potential reconstruction of the pools and expansion of the building.
Yates noted the Lebanon Aquatic District has been talking about the matter for a couple of years now, including considering whether to build a brand new facility elsewhere, which would compete against the school district’s pool.
“We couldn’t afford to run the pool, right?” board member Tom Oliver asked. “If the Aquatic District did something else, we would be bringing in gravel and filling that pool in, right?”
The LAD took over operations of the pool at the high school because the school district couldn’t afford to operate it, and Yates said he appreciates the synergy of having a community pool located at the high school so students can take advantage of it.
♦ Awarded a contract for audit services to Pauly Rogers and Co.
♦ Approved the certified calendar for the 2021-22 school year. School will begin the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, Sept. 7, assuming COVID doesn’t get worse, the board noted.
♦ Heard a report from human resources about the district’s first virtual job fair. Kim Grousbeck, human resources director, said the recorded interview process took time, but overall it went very well and good candidates were interviewed. They even interviewed a couple located in Thailand, she noted.