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School Board Hears Fee, COVID Updates

Earlier this month at a regular Board of Trustees meeting, members of the Riverbank Unified School District discussed a few items including social media guidelines, statutory school fees, and another COVID-19 update which has become a regular topic at the meetings.

With the mass usage of social media, the District has had to create social media guidelines. The guidelines were recently updated to cover expectations of employees and students along with the definition and what it should be used for. Staff explained that the District’s social media sites are used to strengthen connections between members of various groups. The appropriate use policy was reinforced that the expressed “hoped for” outcomes for staff, students which is a safe space for people to come together, learn and grow. It was defined in the Social Media policy what is unacceptable such as “friending” students on a personal page or posting student identities, pictures, or names of students that are not in their immediate family. If something inappropriate is found they are to contact the social media site administrator or a school administrator. Employees are allowed to have their own private social media accounts which will not actively be monitored by the District. It was noted at the meeting that if they are alerted to a problem due to the employee’s activity on social media they will respond.

The board approved new rates for residential and commercial construction projects within the district boundaries. The developer fees allow school districts to fund new construction and modernization projects due to new student growth derived from those projects. Each year in January the State Allocation Board authorizes the adjustment to the maximum that the District can charge for developer fees pursuant to Government Code 65995. Staff advised that due to the study the increase would be from$3.79 to $4.08 per square foot for residential construction and reconstruction while commercial or industrial construction within the district will also be increased to the maximum of .66 per square foot from .61 per square foot.

RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella presented a COVID-19 update as they have been doing since March. In conjunction with and response to the pandemic, the USDA extended the meal program for all children 18 and under through the end of the year, Dec. 31.

Facella explained that the California Department of Public Health has guidelines for allowing small groups of students to attend school for the most at risk like foster youth, homeless, English learners, special education or for any student struggling. There will be no more than five students at a time with only two adults adhering to social distance rules and staying within the same group.

“We are in the planning stage,” said Facella. “Prior to these guidelines coming out, we were working with public health because we have some seniors who were opting out, and would rather drop out and get a job. We worked with public health to bring in five (5) seniors, socially distanced, keeping the door open to the classroom with a supervisor. We are concerned. We don’t want them to fall behind.”