Area School boards look to meet virtually

With the closing of schools, local districts have, by necessity, become more creative in scheduling school board meetings. Although the students are not in buildings, there are certain tasks, such as payroll and paying other bills that are essential, as well as decisions that need to be made by the boards.

Most districts that were contacted will either attempt to livestream meetings or hold meetings with school board members remotely. Many indicated that in order to do that, the boards must vote to suspend policies stating board members must be present in order to conduct business.

According to Greg Hayes, director of public relations at the Williamsport Area School District, meetings of the school board have been suspended until further notice.

Only essential employees are still working in the district on a limited basis and as remotely as possible, Hayes said. Maintenance and food service workers are on the job on a limited basis.

The East Lycoming School Board is in the process of looking at contingency plans after deciding to cancel their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday because the meeting would violate the travel ban put in place by Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday.

Beyond that, according to Michael Pawlik, East Lycoming’s superintendent, the administration remains hopeful that there will be improvement in the Covid-19 outbreak.

He also noted that although the state code allows school boards to go two months without meeting, the district does not want to do that. The board’s policy also permits some — but not all — board members to meet remotely.

“We are looking at all options,” Pawlik said.

The only personnel working at the district are those for whom it is a necessity, Pawlik said.

The Jersey Shore Area School District will be livestreaming the board meeting on YouTube Monday, with board members participating remotely.

According to Dr. Ken Dady, assistant district superintendent, district residents who want to participate in the courtesy of the floor part of the meeting can call in questions. The link for the meeting is on the district’s website.

Dady noted that only essential personnel are in district buildings during the closures. These include food service workers who are using one kitchen in the district to prepare grab-and-go meals to distribute at the district’s elementary schools. Custodial workers are also performing extensive cleaning in the district buildings.

The Loyalsock Township School board will livestream meetings, with the details on the district’s website. The next board meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m., April 8.

At this time there are only essential personnel, such as those completing payroll in any of the building.

Muncy School District is also looking at conducting school board meetings virtually, according to Dr. Craig Skaluba, district superintendent.

Skaluba also indicated that there is a very limited staff in district buildings with “a great degree of flexibility for completing their work” at this time.

The South Williamsport Area School Board will meet at 7 p.m. April 6 and, according to Dr. Mark Stamm, superintendent, the district is exploring how to conduct the meeting virtually.

Staff that remains in South Williamsport’s buildings at this time are essential administrative personnel. Stamm indicated that until last week custodial staff was still at work in the buildings, but that they are no longer working.

None of the districts contacted are considering furloughing employees.