September 19, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Live at SJO school board

I got my temperature taken before the board meeting and had to answer some questions. #safetyfirst

Everyone is wearing a mask. #safetyfirst

Alicia Maxey was sworn in as a board member. #weloveher

Aaron Allen resigned as assistant softball coach.

The only other visitor here is Duane Maxey. I honestly thought more people would be here to discuss the student attendance plan. #ohwell #moresocialdistanceforme

They are keeping closed session minutes closed. As they should. There’s literally no reason to make closed session minutes open.

Discussing financials, ect.

They are still discussing financials.

Discussing e-learning vs. remote learning for school board policies. School board policies come from the state. It’s not stuff this particular board comes up with.

Discussing the Veterans Monument outside of the high school. The American Legion would like to add a sidewalk to the backside of the monument. The board approved it.

2020 school year restart plan time!
“This could all change very quickly or maybe it won’t,” said Superintendent Brian Brooks.

The COVID-19 District Team was made up of administration, teachers and staff.

They looked very hard at a schedule that would match either PVO or SJGS. Brooks said K-12 districts, a lot of them, have a lot of different schedules for K-5 and 6-12.

“We have two feeder districts and that makes things even more challenging,” he said.

PVO has no evening custodians so that is why they are using Wednesday day as a cleaning day.

“We felt academically that wasn’t very advantageous for our students,” Brooks said.

The HS talked a lot about half days.
“The number one concern is the middle of the day getting kids out of here and getting kids back here.” Doing half days would cost the district $30,000 with transportation costs. #YIKES.

Brooks said the financial cost was not the main reason why they are recommending every other day. The logistics of getting kids out of the building and checked in with a symptom check would mean a half-day isn’t as advantageous for high school students. To summarize: basically, they would barely be in class.

If parents are not comfortable sending their child- for any reason- they have the option to do remote learning. #goSJO #options

In the parent survey, 7.5 percent said they would not send their child. So probably like 40ish kids. Brooks saying a few families have already reached out and said they will not be sending their kids back.

Brooks said the district looked at having every student back in the building. “Our kids can’t afford to lose more academic time,” Brooks said. “No one, no matter how you slice it, was moving forward last Spring.”

Each day the curriculum will be moving forward, Brooks said.

“We can’t meet the guidance in classrooms, hallways and lunchrooms with everyone here,” Brooks said. “If one person gets sick it is a huge liability for the district.”

Here is new guidance from CUPH

“It is even more strict,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the district is seeing which they have to follow local or state guidelines. If they have to follow local, it will change everything regarding transportation.

For the start of the year, students will not use lockers. The students will have a Chromebook assigned to them that will stay in the building. They can’t carry book bags around the building because there are safety concerns. A lot of the classes have online books. The classrooms will have textbooks in the room.


Lunchrooms- they will have three separate areas for eating. Fine arts area, library and commons. Hoping to stay with two lunches that way.

Brooks is concerned they will be forced into remote learning “by the powers that be” before August 17.

“Our number one responsibility is to educate students at the highest level we can,” Brooks said. “We have to figure out a way that our students don’t lose during this first semester or however long this lasts.”

The ultimate goal is to get all students in the building.

Staff and bus drivers have been outstandings.

Parents will have to pre-certify that their student does not have covid symptoms. They have to do it daily. If parents do not do it someone from the staff will do it.

Vistors will be limited and those that are in the building will be screened. Masks are required. The district has purchased clear masks for teachers who want it. If a child has a doctor’s note saying no mask they will have to wear a face shield.

Hoveln saying some school districts are saying if the parents let them out of the house they are certifying they are symptom free. Can SJO do that? Brooks says that would open up the district to a huge liability.


If a student has the prescreening form the school will not take the students temperature.


Hoveln asking where they are going to put the kids in the morning to screen them.
Brooks gave several options they have talked about but since nothing is set in stone I am just going to say it’s a work in progress. They will get it figured out.

Discussing sports now. IHSA handed it over to the IPHD. “I can’t see many of the fall sports playing if you go by the guidance given to schools,” Brooks said. Brooks said they may be able to do golf and cross country.

Brooks, Page and Franzen think any type of activity they can give the kids they need to try and give them.

If a student decides to do 100 percent remote learning the district is hesitant to let them do extracurriculars because there is probably a health reason for the student doing remote learning.

Discussing public use of track.

Brooks asking that the motion state he has the ability to make changes to the plan due to changing guidance.

The board has approved the plan.

Earlier this summer IHSA offering two cameras to schools. Discussing if they should do them, ect.

in Schools
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