ROCK FALLS — The Rock Falls District 301 board of education approved the hiring of a school counselor and an industrial arts teacher during a regular session on Wednesday.
Superintendent Ron McCord also provided an update on the school’s Return to School plan, which is still being drafted with an eye toward adhering to COVID-19 recommendations made by state and federal health agencies.
The board approved the hiring of Kennidy Summers as counselor and Cecil Scanlan as an instructor for industrial arts. It also gave unanimous consent to an 18-item agenda that included expenditures, resignations and school policies, routine items in advance of school opening on Thursday, Aug. 12.
McCord said the draft plan would adhere to guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and adopted by the Illinois Department of Public Health. But he added that the situation is still unfolding. “It’s a never-ending watch as to what is going to change next,” he said.
The goal of the draft plan is to ensure full-on in-person learning. To that end, he is exploring the availability of securing saliva tests that can provide quick results on whether a student has the virus. He later said he has been gratified so many students have availed themselves of the vaccination opportunities provided at the school by the Whiteside County Health Department and he encourages more to do so.
In answering a question from the board, Principal Mike Berentes said the school has the authority to ask students, in private and in confidence, to provide documentation as to whether they have been vaccinated so the school can maintain an accurate count of those students.
On the school calendar, a teachers’ institute will be held Aug. 9-11. Freshman orientation will be Aug. 11. The school board will have its next regular meeting Aug. 18, but McCord said a special meeting might be called to present the Return to School plan.