Brimfield board adopts return-to-school plan

For The Weekly Post

BRIMFIELD – After a special meeting on July 14 that drew nearly 100 people, the Brimfield Board of Education met again on July 21 to finish a return-to-school plan.

The crowd at the July 21 meeting was closer to 30 people, including a Peoria County Sheriff’s deputy, and was more reserved than during the previous meeting, when 11 audience members spoke.

Board members discussed remote learning, quarantining and contact tracing, mask requirements and vaccinations. A number of changes to the school plan were suggested by board members, some of which became part of an amended school plan approved by the board and now available online at brimfield

Wearing masks had been a hot topic at the meetings and the board voted in favor of the following language in the plan.

“Masking requirements in the District will be based on the mitigation levels found at the end of this Return to School Plan. To start the year, the District anticipates that masks will be optional in the school and at school events based on the current COVID-19 positivity rates in the area.

Per CDC and IDPH requirements, masks will be required for ALL staff and students when riding in school vehicles.”

Superintendent Tony Shinall said, “When I speak with folks, I tell them masks are recommended.”

The plan also includes a return to the traditional bell schedule, with school starting at 8 a.m. and dismissing at 3:05 p.m.

Lockers and drinking fountains will again be used, field trips will be allowed and music programs can resume, including competitions and programs.

Also according to the plan, students who come in close contact to positive cases of COVID-19 must quarantine unless they are not symptomatic and are vaccinated. A six-foot standard will be used for contact tracing.

Shinall said remote learning will be offered to students who are quarantining due to close contact to positive COVID cases. Other students who seek to not attend in-person classes will be evaluated on a “case-by-case basis” according to Shinall.

“We will have recordings and Webcams up and running during classes and teachers available via e-mail,” he said. “We’re excited to have our kids back from 8-3 every day and we’re glad to welcome back as much normalcy as possible.”

In other action, the board: approved paying $24,829 for the Brimfield Grade School literacy curriculum; $16,864 to HEART for cabling and hosted material; committee assignments; and discussed a Brimfield High School bass fishing team cooping with Farmington High School.

Also approved was the resignation of John Florey as grade school softball coach; the resignation of Tyler Harr as grade and high school band and choir director; the resignation of Josh McKown as high school assistant baseball coach; the hiring of Pam Asbell as a grade school teacher, pending certification; the hiring of Erick Weiger as grade and high school band and choir teacher; and the hiring of Lynne Breitbarth as grade school cafeteria worker.

In his report, Shinall congratulated the custodial staff for preparing the schools for the new school year.

Billy Robison, high school principal, reported Brimfield’s students SAT scores were higher than the state’s average.

Robison said students have the option to change their class schedules during the first week of school, in August.

Grade school Principal Julie Albritton reported the new bleachers were delivered July 16 and installation began July 19. Construction on the secure entrance has begun and a new entrydoor was installed the week of July 5.