On Tuesday night, the Chillicothe R-II School Board held its first meeting since schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, through an online meeting tool that allowed members to log-in and hold a virtual meeting, and also allowed members of the public to call in. On Tuesday, the board passed motions to award two bids, discussed the June 2 election and the district’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and district closure.

The board awarded a bid to G&B Custom Mowing for the mowing of school district property. Assistant Superintendent Zach McMains reported that the district only received a bid from that one company, which has been mowing for several years. The bid was unchanged from last year’s rate

The $23,000 bid from Bill and Millie Breeden for the Grand River Technical School Carpentry Program house build was also approved. The bid was one of two submitted and is in addition to the cost of supplies.

Superintendent Dan Wiebers reminded the board that due to the postponement of the municipal and county election from April 7 to June 2, all current board members would remain on the board until new board members are sworn in and the board is reorganized at the June 16 meeting. There are three seats up for election.

Various members of administration and staff spoke of the district’s response to the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 virus. Students and staff are now scheduled to return to the buildings for classes on April 27.

Wiebers stated while the buildings have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and remain closed. However, administrators are allowed into the buildings for two hours a week to mail educational packets to students without internet access and complete other tasks. The district office is also open two hours each morning, from 8-10 .am., to allow staff there to competes needed work.

Wiebers and McMains explained the response to the district's feeding program, which Wiebers stressed was for any child in Chillicothe under the of 18, not just district students.

Meals are being prepared for or picked up for 400 students, which means 800 meals as each delivery includes lunch and breakfast for the child. Those wishing to have a meal delivered, or to pick one up at Chillicothe Middle School or Field Elementary School should call 646-4566.

“This really has been a team effort,” McMains said. “The response has been overwhelming. The community, volunteers and district staff have been amazing.”

Wiebers noted the state is not requiring students to make up any lost days due to the COVID-19 closure.

Dan Nagel, athletic director and high school principal, said he and various staff members are working hard to find a solution to the closures effect on prom, graduation, and other end of year events, especially for seniors.

“We are trying to figure out how to still hold these events,” he said.