Box Elder County education leaders met last week to receive updates on COVID-19 and school construction projects, and to take a look at the preliminary schedule for the next school year.
Keith Mecham, Assistant Superintendent, introduced the 2021-2022 school calendar to the Box Elder School District Board of Education during the board’s monthly public meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 11. There are not many changes from the current calendar as classes will again begin after the county fair and with minimum days until after Memorial Day.
Mecham stated that this arrangement helped with less heat in the classrooms last fall and gave everyone a chance to become accustomed to new mask mandates and virtual learning.
Superintendent Steve Carlsen reported on COVID-19 problems in the district. The later start to the school day has met with approval from teachers as it gives them the opportunity to prepare for online learning, he said.
The district is working closely with and following mandates not only statewide, but with the Bear River Health Department. The positivity rate in district schools is less than 2%, he said.
“There is little spread in our schools,” Carlsen said. “Mask wearing is working.”
Facilities Manager Corey Thompson gave an update on construction projects in the district. The new community high school in Brigham City is still a work in process due to COVID, which has resulted in many delays in supplies and workers.
The laying of gym flooring has been delayed by wet cement. Signage and special stair treads need to be installed, and the elevator was temporarily lost in transit. Fortunately the elevator has been delivered, but installation and lengthy inspections have again stalled the school completion date.
Thompson has been consulting with Principal Gerald Jackman throughout the construction process and made an agreement to delay delivery of the furniture until construction is closer to completion.
The completion date, originally scheduled for September or October, has been moved to around Christmastime or the first part of 2021. Thompson stated that if it is any later, “I will curl up and cry.”
However, he had better news about the construction of the new school in east Brigham City on the Bunderson School property, where he said site work is scheduled to begin Nov. 18.
Naming this new school has involved principals Heidi Jo West of Mountain View Elementary and Brandon Nelson of Foothill Elementary, students, parents, staff, PTA members, community council members and affected communities.
After scanning through a myriad of suggestions, a catalog was made of similar themes and then further reduced by how many of the names were duplicate and seemed to be the most popular. The three winning names were Peach Valley, Canyon Creek and Snow Elementary.
As per district policy, the board of education members will have the final say on naming of the new elementary chosen from these three finalists. They also have the option to suggest other names.
The next school board meeting will be held Dec. 9 in Brigham City.