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The Beaver Island Community School Board of Education (BICS BOE) made three decisions in the past month to reaffirm the connection between Beaver Island Community School and the greater Beaver Island Community. Two decisions relate to supporting the effort by the Peaine and St. James Townships Joint Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the other relates to collaborative efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the Island.

The Joint Telecommunications Advisory Committee has identified several strategies to improve broadband service to Beaver Island. The BICS BOE has expressed its unanimous support to participate fully and to help fund the effort to create “pools of service” and to serve as an anchor institution to fund a feasibility study analyzing long-term high-speed internet service. The pandemic has highlighted the need for high-speed internet to serve the Island’s students and their families. By collaborating with the townships, non-profit organizations, and businesses, the BICS BOE feels that together we can improve internet connectivity that will benefit everyone.

At their regular January monthly business meeting, the BICS BOE voted to amend their Return to School Plan to allow the school building to be used for community vaccination clinics if it was determined by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan (HDNW) and the Beaver Island Rural Health Center (BIRHC) that the school was the best place to house the clinic. On January 19th, the school hosted a vaccination clinic in the gymnasium. Personnel from the HDNW and BIRHC were pleased with how smoothly the clinic ran and would like to use the school for future clinics. Given that the health of the community at large is a key factor in being able to maintain in-person learning, the BICS BOE is committed to working with our health care partners to vaccinating as many Islanders as possible.

In other business, the BICS BOE completed their evaluation of Superintend-Principal Cwikiel, approved the mid-year amendments to the 20-21 annual budget, and reaffirmed their commitment to providing in-person learning.