The Boonville R-I School Board held a relatively short meeting Wednesday to discuss the LSE Middle School cooling tower and summer sports programs. The board has held weekly meetings since the school closure March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was not a lot of new information to report for the week Superintendent Sarah Marriott said.

While discussions focused on summer sports and cooling towers, the main focus for the district is prom, graduation, end-of-year activities, students retrieving personal belongings and returning school property, she said. The district is waiting on responses to a parent survey regarding graduation.

"We're also making plans for [staff to] return to school after the stay at home order ends on May 4th. What that will look like for staff members and which staff members that will involve [is to be determined]," Marriott said. "We're also planning for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year."

The Boonville school district will continue to do distance learning through the end of the semester. Gov. Mike Parson on April 9 ordered all schools to remain closed through the end of the year. Students still will have to return to district buildings at some point to retrieve and return materials.

School board member Dan Horst had questions Wednesday about the Missouri State High School Activities Association by-laws changes relating to summer sports and other hosting criteria.

The rule changes are a proactive measure for if criteria is lifted to host an event, Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles said.

"I think they were just saying if these things are lifted and we are able to get back together here is what we can do to host an event," Shikles said.

The district has created scenarios with other districts for summer events, but it’s just a waiting game right now, he said.

"I don't know what to predict if they're going to say only 50 people can get together, then how does that look," Shikles said. "There are still a lot of moving parts to the whole thing. If they do lift some of the criteria to host an event we would be ready to go."

The district was approved for a Missouri Department of Natural Resources low-enegery loan with regard to the LSE Middle School cooling tower. The district is able to advertise for the project.

The project timeline will depend on how quickly the district can get the cooling tower and how much time can be dedicated to it. The ultimate goal is to have it operational by Aug. 1, Assistant Superintendent Fred Smith said.

Board member Jim Gann wanted to know if the new cooling tower will be quiter than the current one.

"We took every measure available to get the latest and greatest update to keep it as quiet as possible with our neighbors,"Smith said.

The district also will look at the feasibility of installing some sound barriers, Marriott said. They will not be elaborate or extenstive, but will help with some of the noise, she said.

The board voted to end weekly meetings unless a pressing matter occurred. The next meeting will be sometime in May.