WELLSBORO — The school district here will be looking at how many people can attend events in light of the state’s revised gathering figures.
At an Oct. 6 work session, Superintendent Dr. Brenda Freeman said the governor and Secretary of Health released revised figures for gatherings. Instead of a maximum of 25 people indoors and 250 outdoors, the caps are based on capacity of the host site.
Starting Friday, Oct. 9, venues with capacity of 0-2,000 can have 20% of capacity if indoors and 25% of capacity if outdoors.
The district will focus on developing guidelines for attendance.
“We want to make sure our families who have not been able to attend the children’s events have an opportunity for tickets,” Freeman said.
If there is available capacity after students’ families are admitted, the district may look at extending tickets to the community or competing schools.
Those attending will be asked to segregate into family groups and must wear a mask whether indoors or outdoors, said Freeman.
“If you’re in the stands and not masked up, it hurts our district’s record. We could have to forfeit games,” she said.
In a related matter, Freeman said the district is adjusting to changing guidelines related to COVID-19.
In recent weeks, Tioga County has seen an uptick in positive cases, moving it from low transmission to moderate. If that trend continues or the district has a positive case, the district may have to consider moving from a face-to-face education model to a hybrid or remote model. The remote could also be implemented if there is a time when the district does not have enough substitutes.
With the hybrid model, students would attend school either Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday. That would provide the best continuity of education for students, said Freeman.
Once plans are developed, the district will send a letter to parents.
Parents, students and staff are doing a great job in trying to limit the spread, Freeman said. If experiencing symptoms, students stay home. If someone in the family is being tested, families are self-quarantining and informing the school.
The board also reviewed refinancing two 2016 bonds, both with call dates of April 15, 2021. Using a competitive process, the district will try to take advantage of historically low interest rates to save at least 2% on the bonds, said Jamie Doyle, managing director of PFM.
Conservatively, Doyle projects the district can save $600,317 on one bond, which represents 7.69%, and $179,535 on the second, about 2.26%.
That represents a savings of $188,000 savings the first year, and between $41,000 and $67,000 a year thereafter. If rates change and the district could not save at least 2%, the district would not refinance, said Doyle.
The refinancing would not extend the life of the loan.
Middle school Principal Rob Kreger asked the board about having a therapy dog at the school. His dog, Daisy, passed the therapy dog test administered by the American Kennel Club, he said. He would be willing to pay for liability insurance to have her at school if the district will allow it.
Both Northern Tioga and Southern Tioga have policies in place allowing therapy dogs; the district could develop its own.