DELAND – Athletes at DeLand-Weldon must now be passing all classes in order to participate in athletics.

Currently, the high school follows the Illinois High School Association guidelines which means if a student is taking an eight-hour day, they only have to be passing five of those classes to be eligible to compete.

“It is realistic for a student to fail three classes and still be able to participate in high school athletics,” said Superintendent Jeff Holmes. “Our middle school has no-pass, no-play. Two things. We need to align with our middle school, and we need to align with Farmer City Blue Ridge, where we co-op with the majority of our sports because what happens is, that if our kids go over there, they have a no-pass, no-play rule. Their kid is sitting and our kid is playing, and that becomes a little bit of an issue.”

Last week, the board adopted new language that mirrors the Blue Ridge district policy:

“Students who participate in school sponsored athletic or extra-curricular activities must be passing all of their courses (no pass – no play).

Course grades will be determined as of the last school day of the week; eligibility for the following week will be determined by these grades. Students who are failing one or more classes are required to attend all practices; however, they will not be allowed to participate in any contests or public events. Students who drop a course and have a WF will not be considered eligible.”

“When I saw that, I thought, ‘Holy Cow,’ we need to change it,” said Board President Jamie Dunn.

The middle school follows the same guidelines. The policy takes effect with the coming school year.

Course grades will be determined as of the last school day of the week; eligibility for the following week will be determined by these grades. Students who are failing one or more classes are required to attend all practices; however, they will not be allowed to participate in any contests or public events. Students who drop a course and have a WF will not be considered eligible.”

“When I saw that, I thought, ‘Holy Cow,’ we need to change it,” said Board President Jamie Dunn.

The middle school follows the same guidelines. The policy takes effect with the coming school year.

Other matters

Teachers report for the new school year on Aug. 15 and classes begin Aug. 17, Holmes announced, but the district is still looking to fill a couple of vacant teacher spots.

“We are still looking for an art teacher, a math teacher and a speech pathologist that we share with Bement,” Holmes said. “I talked with the superintendent from Bement and we have had absolutely no applications for the position. Right now, in the area, I think there are three schools looking for speech pathologists and none of them have received any applications.”

Holmes said he will be in contact with a provider to offer the services, if there are no applicants in the coming weeks.

“We are saying our prayers for a math teacher,” added High School Principal Matt Goldman. “I have reached out to Blue Ridge about coordinating there. We are looking at using the long-distance learning room where the students can get real-time instruction and correspond back and forth.”

If that doesn’t work, the district is part of a system that runs through the Unit 5 district in Normal, with other schools in the area.

Holmes said the building is almost ready for classes to begin.

The board approved some tuck-pointing projects which will be completed before the start of classes.

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