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Superintendent: Switch to remote learning went ‘extremely well’

JERSEY SHORE — When what had been planned as a practice day for the remote learning platform ended up evolving into the Jersey Shore Area School District going to remote learning until Dec. 1, Dr. Brian Ulmer, superintendent, said the process went “extremely well.”

“As I said in my message, closing the schools is never something that’s taken lightly,” Ulmer told the school board earlier this week.

“I think the staff did an amazing job making it work. I know we still have access issues and I know we still have some things to iron out, but I think it gave use the chance to see what it was going to look like,” he added.

Parents were alerted to the change in a message on Nov. 19.

“Tomorrow, all buildings will move to remote learning and buildings will be closed,” the message stated.

“Please note that this is not being done because of a large exposure, but we cannot continue to sustain our schools with the sheer number of staff that are out due to individual situations and exposure cases,” the alert continued.

It further stated that remote learning would eliminate concerns for staffing. All athletic activities continue through the time that the district is in remote learning.

Referencing the move at the meeting, Ulmer said that with the holidays coming the district is concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re doing everything to keep everyone safe,” he said.

“We will use that model, if we need to going forward. I did have a conversation today about the potential to use that model if we see cases increase. We are tracking those cases in the district and may need to move to that model in the future if we see increased cases,” Ulmer stressed.

In other business under personnel, the board approved the following appointments:

• Ty Kanouff, head Middle School wrestling coach, $4,086 stipend.

• Robert Harrow, assistant Middle School wrestling coach, $2,960 stipend.

• Aaron Hager, full-time first assistant varsity wrestling coach, $4,218 stipend.

• Collin Glorioso, assistant varsity wrestling coach, $3,268.

• Travis Andrus, Hayden Swartwood, volunteer wrestling coaches.

• Brandie Brion, part-time learning support aide at Avis Elementary, $9.24 per hour.

The board also accepted the resignations of Jacob Maneval, head girls soccer coach, Zakory Herman, assistant Middle School wrestling coach, and Robert Harrow, head Middle school wrestling coach.

The following fall sport head coaches were retained for the 2021-21 school year: Tyler Henry, cross country; Mitchell Cornelius, varsity boys soccer; Thomas Gravish, varsity football and Ann Marie Dincher, varsity girls tennis.

Corrections for stipends approved at the Nov. 9 meeting were: removal of the graduation project and Janna Riggle, advisor; removal of Melissa Becker for the elementary band/chorus stipend; change of stipend amount for Nick Eischeid and Chris Lahr as co-department leaders for music to $1,275 each and the addition of Nick Eischeid and Andrea Bower for the elementary band/chorus stipend to be paid $400 each.

Funds totaling $7,500 from PPL Electric Utilities EITC were approved for use towards the purchase of iPads for the elementary STEAM lab.

The board also authorized the use of $65,000 CDC health and safety funds to meet the requirements of the Health and Safety Plan and direct the administration to make the purchases.

A donation from the Gilhart Estate was accepted by the board to be used for scholarship opportunities. The amount of the donation is not being released yet, according to Ulmer.

Prior to the business portion of the meeting, the board heard a report from Baker Tilly Vinchow Krause, LLP on the 2019-20 year end audit, which the board then voted to accept.

Members of the board present were: Craig Allen, David Becker, Harry Brungard, Patrice Doebler, Angela Grant, Wayne Kinley, Nancy Petrosky, Michelle Stemler and Mary Thomas.

The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 7.

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