Manheim Central High photo

Manheim Central High School is seen April 12, 2012.

When: Manheim Central school board meeting, Nov. 16.

What happened: As COVID-19 cases surge in Lancaster County, the board discussed the possibility of students not returning to school in-person for two weeks after Thanksgiving break. Instead, students would learn remotely from home for two weeks after spending time with their families. District officials have not yet made a decision.

Why it’s important: School board members said they want to be proactive in ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers and staff.

Board discussion: Board treasurer Patrick McGeehan said the district should let parents know a temporary switch to remote learning is a “real possibility” so they’re prepared when it happens. Board President Linda Williams said a decision to switch to remote learning is not an easy one for the board to make. Superintendent Pete Aiken said there are some things to consider about switching all students temporarily to remote learning. For example, the district had given parents learning options for their children at the beginning of the year, and they made choices for each child based on their level of comfort. Aiken said remote learning at home is not a good thing for some children, particularly those who need additional services.

Quotable: “We’re not asking anyone to give up their holiday gatherings; we just need to protect our students,” board member Stacie Ritter said.

High School project: Jeff Straub of Crabtree Rohrbaugh Associates presented an updated timeline for the high school renovation project. He anticipates the bidding period for the project to begin in February and contracts to be awarded in April. The bids would include a number of alternatives such as terrazzo flooring for areas including the main hallway, a folding partition to close off the cafeteria, repaving the student parking lot and a new sign at Adele and Hershey avenues. Construction would be in three phases with the first phase expected to begin mid-2021, the second phase beginning in December 2022 and the third phase beginning January 2023. Anticipated completion of the project is March 2024.

Expenditures: The board approved two expenditures relating to the high school. The intercom system will be replaced by CSESI at a cost of $34,919. CSESI also will replace the clock system at a cost of $44,516. Both of these systems can be expanded, if necessary, during the renovation project. The board also approved a $17,500 contract with Lititz Rec Center for the swim team’s use of the pool.

Next meeting: The board’s reorganization meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1. It will be a virtual meeting for visitors.