BY KATHERINE LAZARUS

BRANDON ­­–– At a continued board retreat and a concurrent board meeting on Aug. 25, the RNESU school board spent hours discussing academic ideals and goals for the year, as well as taking care of the school’s routine business. One major item decided by the board was to use up to $425,000 of a COVID-related education stabilization fund to purchase a modular education trailer at Otter Creek Academy in Leicester because the school is full and out of according to Supt. Jeanné Collins.

The board also learned that 57 new employees have been hired by the school district this year, which is more than usual to compensate for helping some students who might have fallen behind in certain coursework, while a few others are leaving. Those employees who are leaving included: Otter Valley Union High School Special Education Teacher Erika Eckrote; Lothrop Elementary Academic Interventionist Rebecca Elrick; and Neshobe Elementary Special Services Teacher Amanda Stockwell.

Among the newly hired are Neshobe Elementary Preschool Teacher Michelle Daignault; Speech and Language Pathology Assistant Amy Duplissis; OVUHS Special Services Teacher Pat Fallon; Technology Integration Coach Susan Hennessey; Whiting Preschool Teacher Samantha Masterson; Neshobe Elementary Assistant Principal Dan Raabe; and Lothrop Elementary Academic Interventionist Jody Sanderson.

During the board retreat, which went 5-6 p.m., the board concluded that there would be an equity audit done during the school year. Also during the retreat, parents presented their sides about the pros and cons of having children wear masks in school, but ultimately, the board chose to adhere to state guidelines that require masks to be worn at school for the first 10 days at the very least and adjust according to the severity of local COVID-19 cases.