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March 18, 2020 Special Meeting Minutes

Pine Bush Board of Education –March 18, 2020 


Meeting attendance via Google Meet Hangouts and in Person Attendance/ Posted to Website with Closed Caption               
Due to the Current Emergency/Meeting Closed to Public                             


Members Present:

  • Gretchen Meier, President (in person)
  • Cara Robertson, Vice President (via google hangout)
  • Kristin Graessle (via google hangout)
  • Kristi Kheiralla (in person)
  • Dori Johnson (via google hangout)
  • Ross Tompkins  (in person) 
  • Matthew Watkins  (in person)


Members Absent:

  • None


Others Present:

  • Tim Mains, Superintendent of Schools  (in person)
  • Donna Geidel, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction  (in person)                        
  • Michael Pacella, Assistant Superintendent for Business  (via google hangout)
  • Ryan Reed, Executive Director for Personnel and Data (in person)
  • Jayna McAteer, Deputy District Clerk (in person)
  • Approximately 0 residents/students/staff members


Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by President Gretchen Meier with the following motion offered:

MOVED by Trustee Watkins, second by Trustee Kheiralla, that the Board of Education open the special meeting at approximately 6:02 PM

YES – 7          NO – 0    MOTION CARRIED  


Welcome and Pledge of Allegiance

President Gretchen Meier welcomed all to the regular meeting, and requested all stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Attendance – Roll Call:

At the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to Board President Meier, a roll call for attendance purpose was taken due to some attending in person and others via google hangout meet.

  • President Gretchen Meier – Here
  • Vice President Cara Robertson – Present
  • Kristi Kheiralla – Here
  • Kristin Graessle – Here
  • Dori Johnson –Here
  • Ross Tompkins — Present
  • Matt Watkins – Here


Additional attendees:

  • Superintendent Tim Mains (in person)
  • Assistant Superintendent Donna Geidel (in person)
  • Michael Pacella (via google hangout)
  • Jayna McAteer (in person)
  • Ryan Reed (in person)


Presentation: Update on Emergency Plan

The district has an emergency plan designed to handle any emergency. In the plan we have a sub plan for an outbreak of disease. Currently, this is a pandemic (novel coronavirus) which is brand new, so we needed to upgrade our plan. We began approx. four weeks ago with the Safety and Security task force by adding additional personnel with medical background. Some nurses (Laura Stein and Jill Gribbin) and staff member/chiropractor (Dr. Mike Raucci) were invited to participate. It was decided initially, if we had an active case of corona from any source,  that would be a sufficient threshold to close the district for safety reasons to contain the disease. What was learned was that getting a diagnosis was very difficult to do. The number of tests were few, the criteria for admin was so high with a long time to receive results. Therefore, we could not wait for a diagnosis. A week ago, the district learned a parent/vendor employee, was mandated to quarantine (due to symptoms could have the virus). It was decided that was sufficient to close school for Thursday and Friday. Subsequent to closing, on Friday the county executive announced a full closure for schools in Orange County through March 27th. Monday, the Governor issued a new executive order, in addition to the State of Emergency, ordering all schools statewide to close at least until April 1, 2020. We discovered more things needed to be done to take care of staff and student who would not be there, therefore, the cabinet is now included to in the taskforce to assist further. We established a feeding plan for students who largely rely on food from the school, as well as, making sure students are home are able to engage with instructional activities. With regard to people on the frontlines (first responders) , we included trying to determine if we can assist with childcare. We identified a number of things needed to be done. Nurses were directed to connect with parents pertaining to the distribution of medications in the possession of the district (should they need it) and how to get it to them.


Teachers were asked to begin preparing instructional material for distribution. The widest variety of instruction as available online and we do realize not everyone has access to these resources. We have a mix of online and paper materials to address all students. We have food distribution in place that Lyn Prestia submitted and got approved in a day, with distribution sites at CVMS and PBHS. As of yesterday, we distributed 1,836 meals. We have a volunteer hotline and am getting volunteers helping. Mr. Mains continued to speak about specific quarantines that are happening. In order to achieve social distancing, we arranged for teachers to come in and get things they need during specific time slots. Assistant Superintendent Donna Geidel provided an update on the instructional learning and activities currently in place. Parent feedback is very positive at this time. There are extensive plans of instruction packet for prek-5 students distributed and online information that parents can download.  Elementary teachers have  google drive and are submitting for preK-5.  On the secondary level there are packets and google drive as well. Cindy Gloster from the copy center is working hard to put these packets together for distribution. Paper packets should be available Monday for the high school for distribution. Aaron Hopmayer can be contacted at his email aaron.hopmayer@pinebushschools.org. On both ends of the district, there are sites for pick up of materials and meals at CVMS and PBHS. Superintendent Mains added that we are to be distributing chromebooks (one per family) at this time. An update message will be sent tonight regarding the process.


Mr. Mains continues to thank all those assisting during this difficult time. Special thanks to the SROs for their help, as well as, the Food Service Team, Custodians, Operations and Maintenance, and Central Office staff (main switch board will still remain covered). To date, there are no confirmed cases in Pine Bush, however, we need to continue to remain cautious. We continue to work on a childcare plan. Mike, Donna, and Superintendent have been working every day.


Calendar/Spring break:

Superintendent Mains explained the requirements as per the Governor executive order for a school district to continue to receive state aid. If a district is required to be closed due to a State of Emergency, state aid will remain intact provided districts comply with the requirements. The board will be presented with this evening with several calendar options, Option A and Option B (includes the elimination of spring break). A conversation ensued amongst the board regarding some of the following: understanding the usual 180 day requirement, noting districts not to be held accountable provided they meet the requirements as provided by the state. Further discussion ensued regarding the spring break, instruction for students, as well as teachers creating and preparing lessons, and upcoming election/vote questions and comments. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Board of Education approved the following action:



Approval to Amend the 2019-2020 Calendar

MOVED by Trustee Tompkins, second by Trustee Kheiralla, that the Board of Education amend the 2019-2020 calendar and approve calendar B (includes the elimination of spring break) as submitted for adoption.

YES – 6          NO – 0    Abstain – 1 (D.Johnson) MOTION CARRIED   



MOVED by Trustee Tompkins, second by Trustee Watkins, that the Board of Education adjourn the special meeting, noting the time at approx. 7:10  PM.

YES – 7     NO – 0    MOTION CARRIED


Note: BOARD MEETINGS are video live recorded and can be viewed at www.pinebushschools.org        


Deborah A June (electronically signed/daj)Deborah A. June, District Clerk

Pine Bush CSD

(Disclosure: Minutes with be printed on numbered minute paper and placed in the district minute books pending return to school).

Pine Bush Central School District
State Route 302, Pine Bush, NY 12566
Phone: (845) 744-2031
Fax: (845) 744-6189
Brian Dunn
Superintendent of Schools
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