Moline-Coal Valley school board members Monday tapped contractors for the ASPIRE program renovations, heard a mid-year goals update from administrators and heard positive news from Superintendent Rachel Savage about upcoming vaccinations for all district staff.
Board members agreed to hire Legat Architects, Moline, for design services for the Moline High School ASPIRE program at a cost of $191,000. They also agreed to hire Russell Construction, Davenport, for construction management at a cost of $81,718. Board member Justin Anderson abstained from both votes.
Chief financial officer Dave McDermott said the district chose Legat and Russell for the project because they are the two primary contractors on the high school’s ongoing HVAC project. He said this approach made the most logical sense and he believes it will keep the projects on time and on budget.
In December, board members approved $2.8 million to renovate the Moline High School A wing so that Coolidge Campus students can be moved to the high school as part of the ASPIRE program. Anderson voted down that contract. Administrators have said the ASPIRE program aims to embrace diverse pathways to diploma attainment and transitioning students from Coolidge to the high school will allow students of the program more equitable access to facilities, support and access to curriculum.
Board members also heard reports from several administrators during a mid-year PACE goals update. PACE stands for people, achievement, community and environment. Assistant superintendent Todd DeTaye reported the district is launching a multi-year equity plan focused on educational equity and cultural competence. As part of this, a whole-staff professional development session held Jan. 4 focused on equity.
During her update, Savage said the district is making strides towards reviewing and revising its 10-year strategic plan. Savage said individuals have been invited to join the planning committee and she anticipates there will be five monthly meetings between now and May. The committee is slated to bring recommendations to the board in June.
Savage also reported on information from the Rock Island County Health Department about the timeline for district staff to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. She said local health care providers, including school nurses, are receiving their vaccinations now. She said after that phase, possibly in three to four weeks, the county will move to phase 1B or the “educator phase.” She said this round will include all workers in the district, including those that reside in other counties or those that reside in Iowa.
Savage said staff will likely receive the Moderna vaccine on a first-come, first-serve basis unless additional man-power is available to offer vaccines by appointment. She said there is also a possibility substitutes, frequent volunteers, board members and other individuals may also be vaccinated during this time.
Savage said phase 1B is expected to run through the end of March, then vaccination of the general public will begin.
Because of this timing, Savage said, there is a chance all district staff will be offered the vaccine by the start of quarter four. She said there’s also the chance the district could open to students five days per week at that time.
“That’s absolutely the goal,” she said.
Currently students are in full-remote learning and are slated to return to blended in-person learning on Jan. 19. Savage said staff members have reported 39 positive COVID-19 cases since the district moved to full-remote learning in mid-November.
According to an anonymous survey of staff, Savage said, 79 percent of 699 respondents said they would receive the vaccine when it is offered. Another 11 percent said they would not take the vaccine and 10 percent said they were undecided. Savage said no one is locked into these responses, but the data gives the district an idea of how vaccine distribution may go.
In other business, board members:
– Heard comments submitted to the board by parent Shelby Sibley. Board president Sangeetha Rayapati read Sibley’s statement, which focused on returning students to in-person learning. Sibley wrote limiting students to the hybrid schedule is causing students academic and social harm.