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New State Regulations and other fun with the Andover School Board

The September 7th Andover Central School Board of Education meeting lasted a brief 16 minutes, but was packed with action and information. President Brian Perkins presided with 2 members of the board (Kevin and Michele) as well as Jennifer Joyce, Jaime Coyle, Kathryn Slavinski, and Derek Schuelein in attendance. President Perkins called the meeting to order promptly at 6pm.

The board action portion of the meeting saw many approvals of things. There were several scorekeeper and scoreboard operators approved for the coming sports seasons. A new SOAR after-school aide was approved. Substitute lists for both non-instructional and instructional subs were approved. New principal Molly Turner was also approved. All motions passed unanimously with Kevin and Michele taking turns motioning and seconding.

The board dialogue was brief and both board members in attendance wanted to know if any further action to open the gym to the public had been made. The gym equipment donated with the intention that it be available for use by the community has not been available for public use for some time due to Covid restrictions. There was some discussion, but it was determined that current guidelines still do not allow it to be open to the public. They will continue to reassess the gym situation as guidelines become more clear.

The newly added Superintendent's Update portion of the meeting made for some interesting topics. Dr. Schuelein started by discussing the positives of the start of the school year. He stated that 172 students attended the open house Penny Carnival and that the bouncy house was a big hit. He announced a change to the after school snack program from it's current distribution to it being available at 3pm at a central location for pick up by students staying after school. This change is in order to stay in compliance with the program so that funding for it will continue. He then took a hard turn into more serious topics like the new state requirement for Covid-19 Reporting and Testing for Teachers and Other School Employees that was issued on September 2nd. The new requirement was issued just in time for Dr. Schuelein to spend all of his labor day weekend researching it.

Dr. Schuelein stressed that this is not something chosen by the ACS school district. This is a state requirement that they must implement. If you don't feel like reading the entire requirement (and I sure didn't want to) the main take away is that the per a statement issued by Governor Hochul's office the state will "require weekly testing or proof of vaccine, will apply to all schools in New York State until it is no longer necessary as described in the language of the regulation."

What does that mean for teachers and support staff at ACS? It means that they'll need to submit proof of vaccine or submit weekly Covid Testing. At present that would be approximately 50% of school employees. The school is working to implement a program that would provide testing free to those teachers and staff that do not wish to submit their vaccine information. There are two programs, one through Affinity and another through BOCES. ACS administrators are hopeful that they can get the testing in place as soon as next Monday. They're working closely with the unions to see what the best course moving forward will be.

All in all the meeting was a solid 8/10. It was brief and informative. Mrs. Turner was on hand to accept her new position and everyone's congratulations. You did need to miss 16 minutes of the Girls Varisty Soccer game to be there, but if you walked fast you got to catch the second half where the Andover/Whitesville Panther/Blue Jays were victorious.

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