Brownstown students, staff thanked for adjusting during pandemic


Tuesday will mark the last day for Brownstown Central Community School Corp. staff members to prepare and deliver meals to students.

The total meals served over the past eight weeks while schools have been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic will top 24,000, Superintendent Tim Taylor said.

For the employees who have been working during the closure, he felt they should receive an incentive to cap off the unprecedented end to the school year.

During a recent board of trustees meeting, he recommended rolling 50% of their unused vacation days as of June 30 into the next school year and buying back the remaining 50% at each employee’s daily rate, which will be included on their July 8 paycheck. That’s only for employees who work 260 days in a school year, Taylor said.

The board unanimously approved the proposal.

“Thank you for your consideration of that item,” Taylor told the seven board members.

“Our staff has really risen to the occasion during the crisis that we’ve had upon us and has done a phenomenal job throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “I really can’t say enough about the professionalism that they’ve exhibited … and showing the outstanding character that this community is known for.”

From mid-March to May 7, students used Chromebooks to complete assignments via eLearning, and teachers adjusted to a different way of instructing.

“I want to thank our students for being flexible and displaying a great deal of perseverance throughout the past eight weeks, especially our seniors, who have missed out on some of the celebratory activities that culminate their educational experience,” Taylor said.

Prom was canceled, awards day and graduation are going to be done virtually and students couldn’t participate in spring sports and extracurricular activities.

“We’re saddened that the current conditions prevent a traditional graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020; however, I feel that our nontraditional ceremony we’re preparing is worthy of this exceptional group of students,” Taylor said.

That ceremony is set for 12:30 p.m. May 23 and will be followed by graduates parading around town in their vehicles so the community can show its support.

Taylor said each senior was presented a yard sign, and a billboard saluting the class will be up soon in town.

Board President Scott Shade encourages residents to attend the parade for the graduates.

“If you can go out and stand on the sidewalk or make a sign or do something to salute these students, they worked very hard to get to where they’re at, and we need to do the best we can to send them off properly,” he said.

A couple of board members expressed congratulations to the Class of 2020, while others praised the efforts of students and staff during the pandemic.

Trustee Brian Wheeler thanked all of the employees who have helped distribute food on a weekly basis.

“That has obviously been a large project,” he said. “I’m sure they’ve enjoyed their time doing that. That has obviously been tiresome, I’m sure, so I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to that group of people for spending their time doing that.”

Trustees Mary Lou Burcham and Gina Hackman echoed those thoughts.

“I know how much had to go into it, and it was tiresome,” Burcham said.

“I just want to thank everybody for all of the hard work over the last few weeks,” Hackman said. “I know it has been challenging, and we’ve definitely done an awesome job, and I’m so proud to have been a part of it. Not that I did that much work, but I watched you all work very hard, and I’m very proud of what was accomplished.”

Shade said he’s grateful for staff members who put in extra time during the pandemic.

“I think we’ve all learned a lot during this period that can carry over and probably produce some really good things for our corporation,” he said.

Hackman added one final comment to students and staff.

“I wish you a restful and safe summer vacation,” she said. “Hopefully, we can get things back to normal — at least what we can say is our new normal — by next fall. Enjoy your summer.”