Andrew Schmidt: 2021 candidate for Community Consolidated School District 46 board
Five candidates are competing for four 4-year terms
Occupation: Information Technology Project Manager
Civic involvement: Avon Township Democrats, support of local charities
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A: Protecting public education as an essential public service, and ensuring that students and educators are fully supported by local government
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: Excellent -- the health and well-being of students and teachers has been kept foremost
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?
A: My first concern will always be for the well-being of our children and teachers. I have been a proponent of remote learning during this pandemic, and I will continue to believe in a cautious approach to returning to normal. I do understand that this has been a hardship for parents with limited options for remote work, while having young students at home. And, especially for those folks, we should try to return to full-time, in-school learning as soon as possible. I'm also very encouraged by the progress being made with vaccinations in the last several weeks. With that said, I will continue to pay close attention to medical and epidemiological developments in the next few months, and I'm hopeful that, if things continue to improve over the spring and summer, that we may be in a good position to return to 5-day per week schooling in the fall.
Q: Did your district continue to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: Yes, the district has done an excellent job providing remote educational services during this pandemic.
Q: Do you have a plan on how to safely and effectively conduct classes in the spring? What have you learned from the fall semester that you would change in the spring?
A: Some, limited hybrid learning may be an option later in the spring, depending on continuing improvement in key pandemic indicators. Carefully monitoring these indicators (e.g. infection rates, daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths) is critical.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: Where a prudent combination of masking, social distancing and/or adequate ventilation is possible, some sports can tentatively resume. Where close contact is required, I am opposed for the foreseeable future.