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Elmore County Schools superintendent Richard Dennis talks about the changes that are being made to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff as the district prepares to reopen schools in August.

At an Elmore County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday,  superintendent Richard Dennis cleared up some confusion surrounding the reopening of schools in August. 

Elmore County Schools recently released a document containing the answers to frequently asked questions regarding the start of school. One misunderstanding was parents believing students wouldn’t be able to bring their own lunch or snacks from home to eat at school. 

“Students can absolutely bring their own lunch to school, but they cannot order food and have it delivered to school,” Dennis said. 

In the past, Dennis said food would sometimes be ordered from a restaurant and delivered to a school for a student, but that practice will no longer be allowed.

Dennis also answered questions regarding possible student absences due to COVID-19. He said students who are unable to attend school and have appropriate documentation will be given enough time to complete their schoolwork virtually. Students who adequately complete their virtual assignments will not be marked as absent. In these particular situations, a student won’t have to be physically present at school to be marked as present. 

Dennis said the system’s reopening plan is fluid and changes will likely be made as the system continues to adapt as best as possible. 

“The only certainty at this point is that changes will occur,” he said. “There’s legitimate fear associated with this and we’re going to have parents react to protect their kids.”

Throughout the course of the school year, Dennis said some parents will likely pull their child from school and transition to virtual school, while others will begin attending school in person as fears calm and a routine is in place. 

“We’re doing the very best we can to account for all of this,” he said.

The school board also approved the 2020-21 school calendar. The calendar included the change of five professional development days to E-learning days. Dennis said the change will give students 180 instructional days.

“We need to get as much instructional time in as possible,” he said.

In other business, the school board:

• Approved the minutes from meetings on June 15 and June 25 and July 14

• Approved the monthly financials for June

• Approved personnel actions

• Approved the district’s Code of Conduct/Student Handbook

 • Approved athletic supplements and the salary schedule for substitutes.

• Approved a $1.4 million contract with Rodney Griffith Excavating for Redland Middle School site grading services

• Approved a $1,600 bid addition for the Wetumpka High School gym floor