BROOKVILLE — “Let’s keep praying for the health and safety of all our students and staff,” Superintendent Erich May said Monday night, as he reported on “a strong start” to the 2020-2021 school year in the Brookville Area School District.
“There is some good news today,” he said. “We were given a low designation; we were moderate one week of the last seven. We are one of 20 counties with a low designation. There has been an increase in testing, and since school resumed the Department of Health reports that fewer than 8 percent of the positive tests in the last week have been school-age children. That is a good sign.”
May said the district has “been taking significant measures to keep our student athletes healthy. We had a home football game Friday night, and it just couldn’t have gone better. There were only two people who came through the gate in an attempt to buy tickets. That is really something. Folks understood that you had to have tickets in advance, and that meant you had to be the parent of a player. The community was completely cooperative. There were some redshirts up there on the sidewalk and that was fine.”
When questioned by board member Rick Ortz why it was necessary to have two police officers on duty when there were only 70 people in the stands, May said, “This was our first game under the new rule and there was some anxiety about whether people would try to storm the gates and we would need that security.”
May also commented on the high school marching band. “The band put on a great show at 6 o’clock, a really great performance. They had over 100 parents in attendance. They also were able to keep their numbers under 250. There was something like 80 parents in attendance for the football game, again keeping our numbers under 250. When the band was done, families cleared out. They understood it was someone else’s turn to use the stadium. We had cheerleaders there, and I just want to say that we proved that it can be done, that you can have a football game in time of COVID.
“We really appreciate that MegaRock is streaming the football games live,” he said. “We heard from a few families that they were able to enjoy the football game together at home.”
When questioned about the COVID policies regarding the feeder programs, May said “all the feeder programs are following the COVID rules. What applies to our teams also applies to our guests. “
He reminded the board that “250 souls at a gathering is not a school rule; it is a rule for all situations in the commonwealth.”
As part of his report, May recognized “groups that have been pitching in on behalf (of) our students and staff. I want to thank the Brookville First United Methodist Church for their backpack distribution. That involved something like 50 backpacks. Cresco here in Brookville had ordered plexiglass dividers for work stations and it turned out they couldn’t use them and they donated plexiglass dividers that are now being used in classrooms at Northside. Punxsutawney Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution have delivered something like 140 masks to our schools. Alpha Delta Kappa, our local honorary sorority for faculty, have been sewing our mask kits. We really appreciate the contributions. We also appreciate the leadership Kerith Strano-Taylor has show in the mask department and the assistance of people like our consumer sciences teacher Hope Weaver and school counselor Michele Confer. We are grateful for those community members who picked up kits, took them home, sewed masks and brought them back. Our kids are all masked up and it’s really important that we do everything we can to keep each other healthy and safe.”
May said that during this time of pandemic uncertainties, “the unsung heroes are those who choose to share their knowledge, but not for pay and not for glory.”