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HNS Board wants to make sure school is still providing needed services

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HARTINGTON — The coronavirus shutdown not only affects the education of local students, but could also affect the income of many of the people employed to support and educate them.

In the wake of the coronavirus shut down, the Hartington-Newcastle School Board Monday voted to alter current policy on paid leave for teachers and to grant Supt. A.J. Johnson more authority to restructure the work schedules and duties of hourly staff in order to help insure they can continue to work and receive a paycheck even though school won’t be in session for at least two weeks.

The cooks will stay busy preparing meals and other employees will stay busy delivering those meals to students.

“One of our concerns during our closure is helping to make sure that kids still get proper nutrition, especially in a time of such uncertainty,” Supt. A.J. Johnson said. “We will be continuing our school lunch program during our closure.”

He said a form has been posted on the school website for details on how to order a lunch. Orders for meals are due at noon the day before the meals will be delivered. Meals will then be delivered between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The meal service will begin on Thursday, March 19.

Johnson said since the school has 150 Chromebooks, all 1-12 grade students went home from school with a Chromebook in hand.

It is expected that they will do at-home lessons on the Chromebooks and turn them into the teachers for grading, he said.

“We will need the parents support to help make this work, though,” said HNS Elementary School Principal Sara Edwards.

The kindergarteners and pre-schoolers are the only HNS students without Chromebooks.

Johnson said he is also considering having teachers set up a regular schedule for office hours, so they can better communicate with students.