FOXBURG - Many parents are looking for options in regard to finding a safe learning situation for their children and the A-C Valley School District has a solution to those problems.

The district has had the option for quite some time.

The A-C Valley district has a cyber school alternative for students which was discussed at the district's July 20 workshop/regular board meeting.

At the time of this writing, A-C Valley was planning to reopen for in-person learning in the fall since the four counties in the district (Armstrong, Butler, Clarion and Venango) are all in the "green" phase of COVID-19 pandemic mitigation.

However, if the counties in the district would revert back to the "yellow" or "red" phase, the district would be forced to provide distance learning for its students.

According to A-C Valley Superintendent David McDeavitt, none of the district's plans are firm and there could be a variety of changes as to how the district handles its reopening.

If the district's counties would go back to the yellow phase, the district would still be open but the schools would have to find ways to limit the number of people in the buildings.

If there is a regression to the red phase, the school would be closed and the district would have to provide distance learning for all of its students.

"Distance learning will be our teachers teaching our students using our curriculum doing the instruction and the A-C Valley kids are tied into that," McDeavitt said.

However, the district would like its parents and students to know A-C Valley provides a remote learning experience which is not distance learning.

"We created our own cyber service program a few years ago where we can provide a fully online course of study," McDeavitt said. "We basically purchase different courses and someone else teaches them but it is still part of the A-C Valley School District and it is still run within the district."

The school uses Lincoln Interactive for its cyber school services. Lincoln Interactive provides 170 online core and elective PreK through 12th-grade courses.

During the meeting, A-C Valley School Board President Jennifer Feicht stated the advantages to utilizing the cyber service program through the district itself is the student remains a part of the A-C Valley community by having the opportunity to participate in all of A-C Valley's extracurricular programs as well as getting to take part in the school's graduation ceremony.

Moreover, the A-C Valley cyber service program sees district tax dollars stay within the district. If a student chooses to attend a cyber school outside of the district, the district's tax dollars are used to pay for the student's education and many times an outside cyber school program can cost up to three times as much as the cyber education provided by A-C Valley.

Baseball trip on for now

Also discussed at the meeting was the baseball team's annual trip to the Disney World baseball showcase in Florida in the spring.

A-C Valley baseball manager John "Dewey" Irwin provided an update on the team's plans including the date of the trip as well as the cost.

One board member voiced concerns regarding the number of volunteers attending the event and their interaction with the team. Other board members also expressed concerns about the team traveling to Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board tentatively approved the dates of the trip which will be from March 27 to April 3, 2021.

However, Irwin has to provide a list of volunteers and parents scheduled to travel to Florida for the event. The board would also like to see contract from Disney and its cancelation policy.

In other business, the board:

4Approved the purchase of 205 HP Chromebook laptops at a cost of $219 per unit and 205 Google Chrome Management Console License at a cost of $24 per license with the total cost being $50,001.

The funds for the purchase will come from the COVID-19 School Health and Safety grant received by the district.

4Approved Andy Whitcomb to remain as a volunteer coach with the boys' and girls' basketball teams as well as the baseball team.

4Approved the hiring of two part-time light duty custodians for additional cleaning and sanitizing of high traffic areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

4Hired Kierstie Mapes as an elementary school teacher upon receipt of all appropriate documentation at a salary of $45,078.

Mapes will be a third-grade teacher at the school.

4Approved Douglas J. Mays as an administrative substitute for the district at the rate of $150 per day.

4Approved Carrie Longo as the Federal Programs Coordinator at a stipend of $6,000 for the 2020-21 program year.

4Approved Emmy Foust as federal programs assistant at a stipend of $2,000 for the 2020-21 program year.

4Approved Megan Dehart as a volunteer for the cross country team for the 2020-21 school year.

4Hired Jaleigh Seigal as assistant varsity volleyball coach pending receipt of all appropriate documentation at a salary of $1,427.

4Approved the district's health and safety plan (version two).

4Approved the athletic return to play plan (version two).