Vicksburg school board meetings still livestreamed

By Jef Rietsma

The Vicksburg Community Schools Board of Education, which resumed in-person meetings in August, plans to continue livestreaming its meetings as well. Furthermore, recordings of the meetings will be kept available online for at least a year.

Superintendent Keevin O’Neill said the district received a request to continue streaming the monthly board meetings. The request, made by several parents, further sought to keep meetings available for viewing access on the district’s website for at least 12 months.

Board members voiced no objections to the request. President Skip Knowles said he doesn’t believe the accommodation requires a policy change. “We’ve always kept a recorded basis of the meeting and this is just kind of an upgrade … we’ve always had the audio (recordings) available, but the livestream is something we can record and have available,” Knowles said. “A few years ago, this wasn’t even something (we) could even think about.”

Audience members who addressed the board expressed their appreciation for the decision.

In other action, O’Neill said the number of requests for virtual instruction this school year was low. As a result, O’Neill said the district has opted not to offer a virtual component for 2021-22. He did note, however, the district is working to establish an agreement for a third-party vendor to provide online content for students whose parents aren’t comfortable sending their kids to an in-person learning environment.

O’Neill said the district had one teaching position to fill as of Aug. 9. He was confident it would be taken care of by the first day of school.

Assistant Superintendent Steve Goss acknowledged Frederick Construction for continuing to work diligently in advance of the Aug. 30 start of school. He said construction projects at each of the district’s three elementary schools are wrapping up. Indian Lake and Tobey schools were without power for significant portions of the summer due to service upgrades performed by their utility company. Nonetheless, the balance of the work at the two schools has been completed. Sunset Lake and Tobey schools have been fitted with new ceiling grid, HVAC upgrades, boiler work, piping and electrical for LED lighting upgrades. Electrical and fire inspections at the buildings were passed on first review, he said.

“Going into the buildings once a week has been good because it allows you to see the progress …there were a few weeks where it was a little bit terrifying because you see the building in that condition and you don’t think it’s remotely possible that they’ll complete all this in time,” Goss said. “But, as of right now, things are on track.”

As a sidenote, Goss added the district’s bus drivers are prepared to navigate around road and infrastructure projects still ongoing through the village.

Upgrades at the football stadium, including its track and new turf at the football field, have also been completed, Goss noted.

Athletic Director Mike Roy gave a detailed annual report. A 22-year district employee, Roy acknowledged several co-workers and administrators for their support of the district’s athletics program.

Roy mentioned more than a half dozen MHSAA committees on which he has served, and paused before completing the list. “Here’s one – first time on this one – COVID football committee,” he said. “I served on the committee to help figure out the restructuring of football and how the playoffs were going to work.” The district hosted nine MHSAA tournaments in the past year and three Wolverine Conference tournaments.

Roy said 11 members of the class of 2021 will be participating in athletics at the collegiate level.

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