Public Can Watch Or Listen To Special Thursday BOE Meeting
UPDATE: This story has been updated as of 9:22 am on March 19 to reflect the phone-in option is still available.
“In consideration of public health” members of the public can watch a scheduled Board of Education special meeting — set for Thursday, March 19, at noon — instead of attending the meeting.
The agenda for the meeting was posted Wednesday, March 18.
Originally the plan for the meeting included having members of the public phone in to hear the meeting, but it has since been set to be live-streamed on the town’s website, newtown-ct.gov, and recorded, like typical town board meetings.
The phone in option is still available, as announced by the district on March 19. To view the meeting visit the town's website. To phone in to listen to the audio of the meeting dial 1-661-237-3293 then use the pin 900 668 884#, according to information provided by the district. The agenda for the meeting is available here.
A note at the top of the posted agenda explains the practice of not having members of the public attend was done, “In consideration of public health, open meetings and the Governor’s Executive Order No. 7B dated March 10, 2020, regarding Protection of Public Health And Safety During COVID-19 Pandemic And Response — Further Suspension Or Modification Of Statutes.”
“The board encourages the public to e-mail any comments for board consideration to NewtownBOE@newtown.k12.ct.us,” the note later reads.
After the agenda was posted, Board of Education Chair Michelle Embree Ku explained in a phone interview that the decision to conduct the meeting in this method was settled on to provide public access while following the March 10 executive order. Ku said practices based on the governor’s executive order for future regular board meetings are still being determined locally.
“It’s taken a lot to figure out these new practices for meetings,” Ku said.
Some members of the board will be video conferencing for the meeting, Ku shared, adding, “As much as possible we are going to encourage people to access the meeting remotely.”
Topics on the agenda for the special meeting include “Discussion of COVID-19 Waiver and Distance Learning Plan,” “Box Lunch Program Through Whitsons,” “Discussion And Possible Action On April Recess,” and “Fiscal and Personnel Implications Of COVID On The District.”