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School Board to meet in person

It’s a regularly scheduled meeting, but it will be anything but normal for the Suffolk School Board when it comes together Thursday.

Like its previous, special meeting last month, the regular meeting will not physically be open to the public. It will, however, be livestreamed, and it will also allow for people to comment during the two public comment portions of the meeting.

“Due to social distancing and crowd regulations, this meeting will not be open to the public,” said Anthonette Ward, community engagement officer for Suffolk Public Schools via email.

While all of the board members are expected to gather at the College and Career Academy at Pruden except for David Mitnick — who will participate in the meeting remotely — it will be closed off to the public. Like the last meeting, the board will vote on allowing Mitnick to attend the meeting via electronic device.

However, the board members attending the meeting will be in the same room and will be at their own table to maintain six-foot social distancing guidelines, Ward said.

When the board held a special meeting March 19, it livestreamed the meeting via Google Meet, but some people had trouble accessing the meeting. At that time, people were asked to view the video of the meeting via YouTube after it was over.

For the upcoming meeting, Ward said it would be livestreamed through YouTube, “(with) the actual link to be posted on the day of the meeting” on the division’s website and social media channels.

Those who want to address the board during the public comment periods are asked to send their comments to School Board clerk Tarshia Gardner at tarshiagardner@spsk.12.net, and it will be read aloud to the board during the meeting.

Those sending comments need to list their name, address and subject of comment, and then type out their complete comment. Anyone who wants to address the board on agenda topics must notify the board clerk by noon Wednesday. Those who want to address the board on non-agenda topics must notify the board clerk by 5 p.m. Thursday.

The board will get a COVID-19 update from Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III, as well as news on the caravans of caring, in which teachers and staff from some of the division’s schools drove through the neighborhoods of their students. They will also hear about meal distribution, the print shop’s work in printing instructional packets and the technology being used for virtual learning.

The board will also be asked to approve the virtual learning plan for middle and high school students. Classes will use a combination of the Edgenuity and Google Classroom, and students will receive a pass/fail grade for their coursework, with a passing grade being averaged in as an “A” and a failing grade an “F.” The fourth quarter under the proposed plan would count as 10 percent of a student’s final grade, while the third quarter would represent 20 percent of their grade.

Seniors with a passing grade in a class as of March 13 would be allowed to accept their grade and remain in the course for new learning and feedback and not get a grade. Or, they would be allowed to complete the new content in a class and/or make up assignments to try to improve their grade.

Elementary students under the virtual learning plan would not receive a report card for work they do in the fourth quarter. Any elementary students with grades of zero, missing or incomplete for any assignments, and who have not had time to make up the work, would have those grades removed from the gradebook.

The complete agenda for the board meeting can be found at pesb.spsk12.net/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=465.