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story.lead_photo.caption From left, North Callaway R-1 Board of Education members Amy Reinhard, Dr. Tim Safranski and Amy Schmidt listen to a report by Superintendent Nicky Kemp (not pictured) during Thursday night's meeting in the high school media center in Kingdom City. Photo by Ryan Boland / Fulton Sun.

KINGDOM CITY — The North Callaway R-1 School District is loosening up COVID-19 seating guidelines at its activities.

The North Callaway Board of Education unanimously approved a policy change to allow 80 percent seating without restrictions or social distancing at all events during its regular meeting last Thursday night in the high school media center.

The board reserved the other 20 percent of seating for those spectators who preferred social-distancing protocols.

"We're doing well with our (district) COVID numbers because we're doing certain things (as far as precautions)," board member Ann Schmidt said. "It's a tough decision knowing what happened at Wellsville and Montgomery County when they lifted restrictions."

Athletic Director Kevin O'Neal pointed to the large turnout at recent North Callaway High School baseball games in Auxvasse, where there are no restrictions because the sport is an outside activity.

"We've had bigger crowds than we've ever had — people want to have that interaction with people that they haven't had," O'Neal said. "They're craving that interaction right now, but we need to stay safe as well."

In new business, the board gave Superintendent Nicky Kemp the OK to set the district's tuition rate for the 2021-22 school year at $15,500. Board members also approved requiring all district students to present proof of residency for the upcoming school year.

The board authorized the use of Vanco Education for online payments for the district in the upcoming school year after a proposal by Business Manager Kellie Chapin.

Chapin explained that Vanco would waive all of its fees for the 2021-22 school year and she added that cash and check would still be payment options.

"We want to go ahead and get this going, with the hopes of rolling it out by Aug. 1," Chapin said.

The board scheduled a work session for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, in the high school media center to discuss teacher surveys.

"We need to come up with a process where we need to have data from each question consolidated," board president Sandy Lavy said. "I'm hoping these boxes (of surveys) hold the keys to improvements and what we do great."

Under the consent agenda, board members authorized the summer school application and a contract services agreement with Neal's Electric. They also approved agreements with Modern Roof Consulting, Inc., and Thrively Consultation.

The board also heard performances from district students Lacie Reetz, Hannah Reetz and Violet Martin of the winning songs they wrote for the recent Mizzou New Music Initiative's 16th-annual Creating Original Music Project Festival.

Lacie Reetz, a student at Williamsburg Elementary, finished first in the Elementary School-Song with Words division for "The Lion Song." Hannah Reetz — also a student at Williamsburg — followed in second place with "The Thunderbird."

Martin, a student at North Callaway Middle School, took third in the Middle School-Pop Music category for "What I Did."

The three students were sponsored by Williamsburg music teacher Sherry Reetz.

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