Hillsboro School Board Considers Expanding Student Opportunities
At their March 8 board meeting, the Hillsboro School Board discussed the possibility of expanding opportunities for students to utilize the school’s facilities for extracurricular activities. The feasibility of holding prom this year and reinstating open campus for lunch periods were also addressed.
Hillsboro Superintendent Curt Bisarek cited data collected by the Vernon County Health Department during the board’s discussion. According to the data, Vernon County is currently at a better place in terms of case level rates than we were back in September, when schools set to reopen.
The data Bisarek cited was comprised over a 25-week period, beginning on September 11, 2020, and featuring data as current as Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Records indicate the county saw its highest caseload in mid-November, and has been steadily trending downwards since.
Towards the end of January, when the Hillsboro School District made the decision to return to the Green Learning Phase, the data indicated a case level rate at twice the rate recorded in September. As of March 3, however, the case rates have dropped to levels lower than those in September.
While the data has recorded several small spikes since the peak in November, the general trend suggested by the data indicates a continued decline, which Bisarek considers a good basis for moving forward in plans to expand school facility offerings to the student body.
“There’s good progress being made [in the area],” says Bisarek.
The school board has decided to consider the matter further, with discussions regarding allowing youth basketball to resume use of the school buildings as a first step towards reopening the building to pre-pandemic activities.
School officials have sent out emails to students and their families regarding the possible return to open campus for upperclassmen. Currently, the school board has considered allowing seniors to level the school grounds over their lunch periods for the remainder of the quarter. Should this trial period go well, the board has indicated that open campus would then be extended to juniors the following quarter.
In terms of prom, first steps have been taken regarding the event. School board members discussed possible options that would enable Hillsboro to host prom this year, after last year’s cancellation due to COVID. Discussion included hosting prom in the gym and limiting attendance as well as the Grand March, hosting prom outdoors on the track field, and the possible implementation of a ticket system to help ensure that the event does not become overly crowded.
The school board has discussed the possibility of allowing seniors and juniors to attend with a single guest, while freshmen and sophomores would be allowed to attend with no guests. Members of the school board have asked to table final decisions regarding attendance until more information has been collected.
Currently, the school board has set a tentative date of April 24, with the event scheduled to take place between 6:00P.M. and 10:00P.M. Numbers of those allowed to attend and the stipulations determining those numbers have yet to be determined. School officials have indicated that they will be gauging interest among the student body and within the community in order to make a more informed decision.