The Wadena-Deer Creek school board approved the 2020-21 back to school plan, including plans for in-person, hybrid and distance learning options, with the changes from the Aug. 6 meeting including parents doing the health screenings and students having scan cards for food service. The school year will start with in-person learning for all grade levels though the district could have to transition between options depending on the COVID-19 cases per 10,000 over a two week period.
After meeting with Tri-County Health Care and Wadena County Public Health, Superintendent Lee Westrum said the district decided to have parents complete a health questionnaire with their children before school, including taking their temperature and asking about symptoms. Westrum said the decision also comes with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including on not having students wait outside or in close proximity to one another, the possibility of students being excluded from school by having one symptom and the accuracy of thermometers depending on the student’s activity level and temperature outside.
Throughout the day, teachers will also complete a general symptom screening at the beginning of each class for 7-12th grade students and four times daily for kindergarten to sixth grade students.
Students will have scan cards for purchasing their food instead of entering their account number to reduce the cleaning necessary between each student. While in the lunchrooms, students will be seated at tables of 50% capacity or with plexiglass and wear their masks when not eating. The 10-12th grade students will still have their open lunch though food delivered to the office has not been decided, according to middle high school principal Tyler Church.
If the district needs to transition to a hybrid option, the elementary school can have school daily due to the classroom sizes and number of students as well as the addition of a third and a fourth grade class, according to elementary school principal Louis Rutten. The middle high school would have A and B groups with A having in-person classes on Monday/Tuesday and B on Thursday/Friday with distance learning on the other days, Church said.
To prepare for distance learning, the schools are working on having one platform for parents with children in different grade levels to log on to instead of several different platforms. There are 30 students at the elementary school and 35 students at the middle/high school who plan to start the school year with distance learning, according to Rutten and Church.
In other actions, the board approved:
The hires of Vince Hinojos (Technology Director) and Derek Dravis (Elementary Teacher).
The resignations of Vince Hinojos (School Board Member), Julie Taggart (Elementary Paraprofessional), Dave Seaton (Elementary Paraprofessional), Sheena Hagen (Elementary Paraprofessional), Carly Carkuff (Elementary Paraprofessional), Deb Wright (Middle High School Paraprofessional), Steven Thomas (Elementary Paraprofessional) and Rhonda Rude (Food Service).
The paying of the district’s bills of $714,872.50, bond construction bills totaling $66,887 and a Minnesota Valley Irrigation project bill of $46,809.69.
Donations to the district for $12,365.
A resolution for the general election of three school board members on Nov. 3.
An increase in the substitute pay rates.