Education & Agriculture
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    The Carlyle School District Board of Education voted 6-1 for the district's return-to-school plan for 2021-22, at their July 21 meeting.
    Superintendent Annie Gray outlined the plan so that anyone in the audience —parents,  students, community members — could gauge what the plan spelled out and if they wished to address parts of that plan.
    The plan was a collaboration between Gray, district administrators, the Clinton County Health Department, and information she gathered from other area superintendents.
    The 10-part plan addresses COVID-19 mitigations — mask usage and physical distancing; contact tracing, along with isolation and quarantines; disabilities and other health care needs; cleaning and disinfecting;  vaccination status; and miscellaneous items.
    Gray said through last year "we learned a lot; some things good, some things bad."
    But looking back, the district's staff and students were able to have full in-person instruction, "for those who chose, for just over 70% of the school year," Gray said.
    She said that was something to be proud of.
    It's your choice
    Students return to school Aug. 16, with teachers reporting  Aug. 12.
    The district will be returning to its normal, pre-pandemic schedule of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, with doors opening  at all three buildings at 7:30 a.m.
    Vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear face masks.
    Masks are recommended, and even encouraged, but not required for those who are not vaccinated.
    Gray said staff and students "will be supported based on their personal choice." 
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Transportation are requiring people riding school buses to wear masks.
    But with the potential for change in the state's health status — an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate — mask requirements could be implemented at a later date.
    Board President Aaron Heinzmann said he realized the plan would have to be amended  as more health information is received.

    The Carlyle School District's Board of Education set new substitute pay rates at its July 21 meeting.
    The rates are set by the board of education "to ensure that we're being competitive," according to district superintendent Annie Gray.
    Gray said substitutes are "very hard to come by, whether it's a sub for a teacher, or sports staff, or a bus driver." She said she reached out to other comparable districts for information, which was brought back to the Carlyle board to help set those new rates.
    Substitute rates for teachers were set at $90 per day. For non-certified staff [aides, cooks, secretaries, custodians, etc.] the rate was set at $12 per hour, and $20 per hour for bus drivers.
    Board member Keith Alexander abstained from the vote since he does substitute "once in a while."
    School registration fees — there was no increase — were approved by the board, something that's done annually.
    Registration will be Aug. 3 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the high school library, and registration packets are available on the district's website.
    Gray, in her report, told the board and the public that Johnson Controls has repaired the air conditioning system at Carlyle Grade School. 
    There is similar work to be completed at the junior high school. Gray said the air conditioning system there is running, just not at full capacity.

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