Poteau School Board fails to carry virtual learning motion for seventh-, eighth-graders

David Seeley
PDN Editor

In a 3-2 vote in Tuesday night's special meeting at the Bert Corr Administration Building, the Poteau Public Schools Board of Education failed to carry board member Matt McBee's motion, which was seconded by board member Earl Jobe, to have the seventh- and eighth-grade students go all virtual until the soon-to-be new seventh-eighth grade academic center is ready for them to occupy.
Poteau Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Don Sjoberg said that it will be the first of October before the new facility will be ready because of certain supplies needed, namely kitchen equipment, that are on back order due to COVID-19 pandemic reasons. School will begin for the Poteau district next Tuesday.
McBee's biggest concern was that it would be easier to move the seventh- and eighth-graders into the new facility once it opened.
Also, it would take care of some of the overcrowding issues at Pansy Kidd Middle School, where the seventh- and eighth-graders currently are slated to begin school next Tuesday.
When it came down to the vote, McBee and Jobe voted for it, while Board President Ron Hall and board members Ranada Adams and Deann Williams voted against it.
At the end of the meeting, Sjoberg said that he was going to get word to all parents to encourage their kid(s) to go virtual who may not have already decided to do so to help with keeping the district sites as uncluttered as possible to help with social distancing. At the Aug. 24 board meeting, the board approved Sjoberg's recommendation to ad to the "reopening guidelines" that all students riding buses and walking in the hallways at all district sites to wear masks.
Poteau Public Schools Special Education Director Brenda Dalton, who attended Tuesday night's meeting by virtual means, did say that there have been students changing from their initial choice to go to school by traditional means to go virtual.