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RISD expects reopening guidelines soon

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Even though how school will be conducted come August is not yet fully known, the school board of the Roswell Independent School District took steps to prepare for the 2020-21 year by approving contracts, food service bids and policy changes at its meeting Tuesday night.

RISD Superintendent Mike Gottlieb said during his announcements he expects to have guidance soon from the New Mexico Public Education Department on starting school under COVID-19 precautions.

“I am hoping by Friday we will have the information from the PED and the governor about what requirements we have going back to school,” he said.

“We are hoping we get to start school again as normal as possible with a lot of guidelines,” Gottlieb said.

The first day of school is scheduled for Aug. 5.

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Gottlieb said the district is putting together a back to school committee and is surveying teachers and parents. He asked for two school board members to serve on the committee, with Hope Morales and Hilda Sanchez volunteering. James Edwards will serve as a backup board member.

The district has received some information such as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and has begun looking at the academic side of preparations, Gottlieb said.

Parents have been concerned about cleaning materials and how they will be used to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, he said.

“What we’re planning to do is a video to show how a custodian will clean a bathroom, how they will clean a classroom. We’ll go through that process because that is what they are asking,” Gottlieb said.

In its business portion of the agenda, the board approved contracts with Hamill Transportation and Pollard Bus Company for athletic and activity trips. The contracts outline fees and time limits for local trips ranging from $35 to $75, mileage rates for longer trips and fees for overnight trips and extra drivers.

Contracts were also approved with those companies for daily student transportation. Hamill Transportation will be paid just under $1.2 million for the year, and Pollard will be paid $1.5 million.

In response to questions from Morales and Sanchez, Gottlieb said the district has not received guidance on requirements for cleaning the buses and whether or not drivers will be tested for COVID-19.

The board also approved bid recommendations for food services including food, non-food items, milk and fresh produce.

A question from Morales about one of the vendors on the milk contract prompted discussion of using local vendors.

Morales asked if a local dairy was recommended for the milk contract. The recommended bid on the cover sheet is Dean Dairy Inc. while the accompanying spreadsheet lists Price’s and GH Dairy.

Price’s Creamery is now a brand of Dean Foods, based in El Paso, Texas.

Edwards asked if local farmers entered a bid for fresh produce.

Chad Cole, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said the produce bid can be more tricky than other bids due to seasons and crops grown. The district does sometimes buy produce from local vendors, he said.

Local vendors also sell to larger organizations and “farm to table” organizations that the district contracts or approves bids from, Cole said.

Morales encouraged the administration to reach out to local vendors whenever possible.

“Based on the questions from the board, I think it’s important to us, as much as possible, to make sure we’re getting bids locally just to support our local community,” Morales said.

The board also approved policy changes on open enrollment, graduation requirements and military leave for staff.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

 

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