Boonville R-1 School District inches closer to opening day

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Glass doors and shelving are being installed in the high school display area.

As the Boonville R-I School District inches closer to its opening date on Monday, August 23, Boonville Superintendent Sarah Marriott said she for one is excited about the upcoming school year.

"I'm actually really excited about this school year," Marriott said. "We've got a great staff, and we're excited to have the majority of our students back, which will be a change from the beginning of last year. Like I said earlier, I think we learned a lot last year on operations and what to do and what not to do, and I think that will really help us and prepare us for the school year. There's going to be a lot of unknowns, though. As our students return what are their needs going to be and where they're learning going to be at? Where do we need to get started? So some of that will be learning as we go, but overall, I'm just really excited to have school back this fall."

The 2020-21 school year was definitely a learning experience for everyone with  COVID-19 still lingering around and now with the uptick in cases from the Delta variant. However, Marriott said the district is currently recommending masks for students that are unvaccinated. But that is not a requirement, she said.  

"The same for the staff," Marriott said. "The board is going to meet for their regular August agenda, so if they would like to do anything different, they will do so. They will utilize our data and statistics from our county. What are the current conditions for students and staff that are working and attending school at the Boonville School Districts,­ and they will use all of those factors in making any determination if they want to make any changes and do any updates. But right now, as of today, July 30, the recommendation is for those who are unvaccinated to mask. But  can change tomorrow."

And like most opening days to the school year, Marriott said the district will have a half day on August 23 with early dismisal. She added that buses will run normal routes

"We would advise parents to be patient with the bus service because we're redoing some of the routes slightly different," Marriott said. "Whatever time the bus tells you that that they will arrive at your home, give or take a few minutes. They may arrive early, they may arrive late and certainly at the end of the day, it may just take a little longer than anticipated, but that will that always improved as we get more comfortable with the schedule and and the school your proceeds."

Back to school registration has already begun online. At Boonville High School, Principal Kenya Fuemmeler said seniors will begin registering on August 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by juniors and sophomores on August 11 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and freshmen (and all others) on August 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

BHS and BTEC Open House and connector ribbon cutting will be held on August 19 at 5:30 p.m. and barbecue from 6-7 p.m.

At LSE, registration will be held on Tuesday, August 17 for seventh and eighth graders from 1-6 p.m., and for sixth graders on Thursday, August 19 from 1-6.

At Hannah Cole Primary, a Meet the Teachers Night will be held on Tuesday, August 17 from 5-7 p.m. Parents meetings will be at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the gym.

Meanwhile, at David Barton Elementary, a back to school open house will be held on Thursday, August 19 with third grade at 5 p.m., fourth grade at 5:30 p.m. and fifth grade at 6 p.m.

Marriott said all teachers have been hired for the upcoming school year.

"We hired our final teaching staff at the July Board of Education meeting," Marriott said. "We are still conducting some interviews and hiring for paraprofessionals within the district, and then we always welcome substitutes. Mr. Fred Smith, assistant superintendent, is working on a substitute training that we will conduct this year with all of our substitutes."

Virtual learning will also be different for the upcoming school year. Marriott said last year because of the number of students who are wanting to participate in virtual learning, the district provided a virtual learning opportunity which was hosted by our staff. However, this year, she said the district is moving to a virtual option. "It will not be connected with the district in the sense that it won't be those classestaught by district staff," Marriott said. "It will be through a vendor only."

Marriott said 15 students have opted to do virtual learning for the 2021-22 school year, however, the enrollment period will close after the third day that schools are in session. 

Progress is also being made at the schools. Marriott said she went to LSE on Tuesday and then went back on Thursday and there was a dramatic difference in what has already been accomplished in just a two day time span. 

"We do have a few projects that will be ongoing throughout the year, but they should not be disruptive to students, s all buildings will be operational," Marriott said. "We might have some touch up things to do in each of the buildings as well, but it won't be disrupted to the students. The biggest project, of course, is going to be David Barton's reroofing that will be ongoing through the fall. But again, they're staggering that re-roofing project so that it's not going to impact classrooms. They're doing it in stages."