The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Noblesville High School choirs perform outdoors in front of NHS’s Gate 1 as families watch from socially distanced lawn chairs in the parking lot on Oct. 1 at the Autumn Choral Concert, themed "The Drive-In Concert."
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Noblesville High School choirs perform outdoors in front of NHS’s Gate 1 as families watch from socially distanced lawn chairs in the parking lot on Oct. 1 at the Autumn Choral Concert, themed "The Drive-In Concert."
I sat in my comfortable loungewear and awaited the YouTube link to go live for Wednesday’s Noblesville Chamber of Commerce luncheon that featured Noblesville Schools Supt. Beth Niederymeyer delivering her 2020 State of the Schools address.
While the luncheon was in person and I could have easily attended, I chose to not worry about socializing behind a face mask and social distancing at a networking event, even though I usually enjoy attending because of the great array of speakers found by Chamber president and CEO Bob DuBois.
The event space at Purgatory Golf Club has the capacity for 175 people, however, the Chamber only allowed registrations to fill the room to half capacity, with tables limited to five guests.
All attendees would get their temperatures taken upon arrival and speed through a contactless express check-in, according to my source, Curtis Honeycutt, the Chamber’s communications manager. (If you think his name is familiar, it’s because Honeycutt is also communications manager for Nickel Plate Arts).
Meals were served to tables, as opposed to herding through a buffet line. And hand sanitizer stations were placed around the room.
Face coverings, of course, were required except when guests were eating. (I did see in the news that a face mask with a remote-controlled mouth has been invented in Israel, allowing diners to eat food without taking it off. The mask can be opened mechanically by a hand remote or automatically when the fork reaches the mask (I wonder if the band departments at some of the public schools know about the masks, since I heard special masks are required for band students in other school districts.)
“Every one’s living it. This thing that we call COVID has affected every single part of our lives,” Niedermeyer said.
She looked back on the first day of school in August wondering if they would make it to fall break. And here it is.
“We were prepared better than most for virtual learning,” Niedermeyer said.
She said it’s been been really funny story reflected on a first-grade class classroom wall decor
She kicked off her State of the Schools address with an overview of the district’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic response and went through other highlights of the district, to finances, safety, mental health, diversity, curriculum, construction and senior celebrations, which were highlighted of the front page of Thursday’s edition of The Times with photos.
“This is the first time I’ve done a State of the Schools with notes because I have so much to tell you that I don’t want to forget anything,” Niedermeyer said.
Here are some additional highlights.
The COVID has resulted in some cost challenges. The purchases of masks, face shields, table dividers, hand sanitizer and Internet hot spots has cost $277,500. The district has hired an additional cleaning staff and has had overtime pay, increased bus driver hours due to double routes, hired more teachers, instructional assistants and substitute teachers, for an estimated cost of $1.530,000.
While the district has reported 53 positive cases of COVID-19, there was been more than 100 COVID-related communications sent to parents and staff, keeping families up to date. The district has really kept us parents informed.
In partnership with the City of Noblesville, the district is creating “Roundabout Decor,” which district spokesperson Marnie Cooke is coordinating. The campus area stretches from White River Elementary to NHS, new stadium and Community Center to Noblesville East Middle School.
Niedermeyer said, “We spent this spring, really planning on ways we would re-open the schools. It’s impossible with COVID to do long-range-planning.”
Recently, the Noblesville High School choirs had an outdoor concert with families invited to bring their lawn chairs and sit in the parking lot in front of Gate 1. (And yes, if you were there, you know that it did rain but the choirs sang until NHS Singers performed
“The work that the school district has done this year to get our students back to schools safely is extraordinary. Lots of other school districts are still trying to figure it out,” DuBois said. “Our school district, it’s a giant team, but it does start with strong, strong leadership. We’ve always known it was always there with Dr. Niedermeyer, and she’s demonstrated it this year in many, many, many ways ….”
Folks who did not want to attend in person were offered a virtual version at no cost. The video links can be found at https://www.noblesvilleschools.org/

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.