By Garret Roberts
After two COVID-19 focused meetings, the Montour school directors returned for a typical agenda at the Montour High School auditorium on Oct. 21.
After recognizing the students of the month, the school board highlighted some new programs coming to the district. They also discussed a large sum of money that the school is receiving as a part of the COVID-19 relief programs around the state.
Thanks to a new program at Montour School District, students will learn about the dangers associated with peer pressure and harassment online.
Known as the LEAD (Leadership, Education, Accountability and Direction) Program, guest speakers will address classes on a variety of topics they may face while growing up in the digital age. The program will address topics such as bullying via social media, the dangers associated with using social platforms, alcohol and vaping.
The program also seeks to inform students about modern issues on social media, such as disruptive TikTok trends that have happened in schools across the nation. Students have made headlines for disturbing trends involving stealing school property, destroying bathrooms and assaulting faculty.
The board reported that none of these trends are currently impacting Montour School District as of the Oct. 21 meeting. Parents will have access to at-home teaching materials available on the district website as well.
$5M pandemic relief
While discussing the finances for the school year, the school board honed in on the COVID-19 stimulus funds that the district has received.
According to their reports, the school district has received $5.3 million in COVID-19 related stimulus funds from local and state governments. This total includes money that has already been spent on pandemic learning accommodations or will be used over the next two years.
“That money is earmarked for learning loss, and for COVID remediation and capital expenditures to pursue certain things,” said Cynthia Morrow, treasurer.
For many local school districts, this funding was used to update facility capabilities to teach during the COVID-19 pandemic, including new air circulation technology. These updates were already implemented in Montour schools, opening the funds for other usages in areas such as tutoring and hiring additional staff.
According to officials, there is an additional $3 million after the initial COVID-19 prevention measures implemented by the school. The district plans to continue allocating these funds for students in need of tutoring and educating special needs students whose learning process was disrupted throughout the pandemic.