The Winslow School Board meets virtually Monday.

WINSLOW — When the Winslow Public Schools School Board unanimously approved a plan for winter sports in November, the agreement was to only compete against schools in counties labeled “green” in the state’s COVID-19 re-opening advisory system.

But the The Maine Principals’ Association recently reverse course to allow schools in yellow counties to play and practice brought up a discussion of whether Winslow would play teams in “yellow” counties during a regular meeting held virtually Monday night.

“This one really effects our girls ice hockey program,” Winslow High School Athletic Director Jim Bourgoin told the board. “If you’re telling these ladies they can’t go to Cumberland or Androscoggin counties, they’re basically playing two games.”

Girls ice hockey players from Winslow are part of a co-op team with Cony, Erskine Academy, Gardiner, Lawrence and Messalonskee. Ten of the team’s 12 games are in “yellow” counties.

After board members expressed their feelings, some in favor of playing and others not, Winslow Public Schools Superintendent Peter Thiboutot suggested convening with administrators, school nursing staff and other medical experts before making a decision.

“It only makes sense to have that conversation,” Thiboutot said. “We’ve been following along with the science with all of this and we’ve stayed safe because of that. That’s how you keep your children and community safe.”

The board concurred and intends on holding a virtual meeting to make a decision following the administrative meeting, which has not been set yet.

COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDS

Thiboutot prepared a presentation for the board detailing what the district has done and is doing with its coronavirus relief funding. There’s a balance between spending the funding on current needs, but also spending sustainably when looking toward the future.

Important to note, the relief funds cannot be used for anything already outlined in the local budget.

“I can’t stress this enough, you can’t supplant things in the local budget,” Thiboutot said.

When paying employees with relief funds, the payout to Maine State Retirement goes up by 20%. Short-term savings could create problems down the road. The district clearly defined added positions as one-year or temporary appointments. Winslow was allocated $956,622.59 in the first round of relief funding and $1,004,259.40 in the second round.

There is more flexibility with CARES Act funds, and Winslow used much of its funding on technology for students to have their own personal devices. The district was allocated $272,206.61 in funding from the CARES Act, and there is a second round to come.

“These are going to be ongoing conversations with our administrative team,” Thiboutot said. “To think about what are our needs based on our data and what we’re seeing.”

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

The Maine Department of Education announced last week the age limit for special education students was changed from a student’s 20th birthday to the 22nd birthday.

With the change, six Winslow students will be impacted.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments,” Winslow Public Schools Special Education Director Jennifer Gagne told the board. “We’re going to have to look at the students that would age out this year and offer them programming.”

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