With the number of positive COVID-19 numbers among students and staff holding steadily in the single digits, the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) Board of Education turned its attention to new wellness initiatives, student accomplishments and graduation plans.
At its March 22 meeting, the board supported a reduction in single use plastic water bottles sold on campus, solicited volunteers to review school cafeteria food on the new Wellness Committee, and heard a COVID-19 update. Since adopting a “your mask, your choice” stance on March 12, the district reported one active positive case among all students, and four among staff on March 22. “Today is day seven of the optional masking, and we’ve not seen any indication at all that there has been an increase to our COVID-19 cases,” BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy told the board.
Bregy asked the community to save the date for the Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) class of 2022 graduation, which will be held June 3 at 9 a.m. on the Nickoll Football Field. In the spring of last year, he noted that staff were unsure in what capacity an in-person graduation ceremony could be held, if at all.
“I’m so glad that we are in a different place today because this is not only a rite of passage, but an area that we can celebrate the success of our students, our staff, and also our school district,” Bregy said. “This is an amazing event.”
School staff also announced that the food services department is recruiting volunteers in the district to be part of the new Wellness Committee, which is tasked with reviewing nutritional guidelines for food items available at school. The committee will evaluate current menu offerings, look at guidelines for reimbursable meals, and goals related to nutrition education and physical activity.
“We know that this is an area that has a lot of interest from our community, and so our goal here is to see who is interested,” Bregy said.
Those interested in participating must email email@example.com by March 25 at 3 p.m. and will be provided an application. The committee will meet on April 6 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and April 30 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and then make recommendations to the board on how to improve wellness policy.
At the request of Board member Noah Margo, a discussion took place regarding the elimination of single use plastic bottles available to purchase in the cafeteria. “I think it’s time for our city and our community to start putting practices in place that are protective of the environment,” said Margo. “I am not calling for an all-out ban of plastic bottles immediately, but what I would love to be able to do is look into what that would entail.”
Board members agreed with Margo, advising staff to bring more information regarding student access to water filters and implications on the existing food program before taking any official action.
Margo also requested that the Board discuss a potential resolution or additional bylaw to discourage governing board members from endorsing candidates in local elections. “We are in another election cycle this year, and people are asking each other all the time for endorsements,” Margo said. “Who we vote for is our business and it doesn’t dissuade people from voting who they vote for. But I think in a small community like ours, it starts to have the appearance of playing favors.”
However, the idea was not supported by other members, and the discussion was brief.
“It is part of the political process, and it is each individual’s right to endorse whom they like or whom they feel that they want to endorse, or to not endorse at all,” said Board President Mary Wells said. “I think it’s up to the individual, and I wouldn’t want to interfere with that.”