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VIDEO | Slinger Board of Education approves language on masks and safely reopening schools

July 28, 2020 – Slinger, WI – The Slinger Board of Education met Monday night and approved language on a plan for reopening schools. The details below on students, staff, safety and masks.
Superintendent Daren Sievers made a brief statement (43:00 mark) prior to reading the administrative recommendation. “We are trying to find the right stance to make school safe as possible and have school remain open,” Sievers said. “Using the words require means the district would need to specify consequesnces and articulate all the exceptions. The Washington Ozaukee Health Department uses the word recommend.”

Superintendent took all the feedback and presented a draft proposal – advocating for masks whenever possible. Below is the exact wording. The recommendation passed unanimously.
“To provide the safest educational setting possible and stay open five days per week as long as possible, the Slinger School District is requesting that students wear face coverings whenever social distance cannot be maintained.  To account for individual needs and personal circumstances of all kinds, we will be asking families to opt their student “in” to the District face covering request or opt their student “out” of the District face covering request through our fall registration process.  Staff will be required to wear masks whenever social distance cannot be maintained but out of respect for their personal health circumstances, they may not get closer than six feet to students who are not wearing face coverings.  Face coverings will be made available for situational use by the District for all students at all times.”

Daren Sievers

Slinger School District
“It’s the little things that make a BIG difference.”

A couple other bullet points from the meeting.

1:38:38Superintendent took all the feedback and presented a draft proposal – advocating for masks whenever possible. To provide the safest setting possible and stay open as long as possible the district requests that students wear a mask when social distancing can’t be maintained. To account for individual needs we will ask parents would opt in or opt out of face covering request. Out of respect for their personal health circumstance staff cannot get closer to students than 6 feet without a face covering. However, face coverings will be available to students at all times as needed.

School board member Roman Weninger – as a result of a parent with a child with asthma or allergy or an autistic child that’s why we put it together this way.

Plexiglass barrier is what district is looking into as added equipment. Could cost extra $32,000 or up to $100,000+

School board member Joe Havey – district is putting together a good plan.

School board member Bruce Hassler mentions the district has a lot of concerns for staff

J. Havey – individual plexiglass barriers for students and teachers. We want to do this to get schools open, keep them open and protect students and staff.

To account for individual needs and personal circumstances of all kinds. Approve the options for face coverings.

Passed unanimous.

1:17:15 Contact tracing and positive testing. Positive tests will be reported for both staff and students. Health Dept. concerned it can’t completely do contract tracing itself when it comes to the schools. County Exec and Health Dept will hold an emergency meeting about having a team approach. Health Dept. found quarantine with a positive case or contract tracing the language does not require quarantine but recommends quarantine.
1:14:05 Transitions at the high school. Elementary school and mid school will minimize transitions in the day. What about at high school? Could school go to a block schedule to reduce the number of transitions? Mr. Ourada is working on designing a pilot program for a block schedule that would help keep the high school open; 16 of top 20 performing districts in Wis use a block schedule. Block would be a safer schedule according to the Superintendent. More details will be released Monday, August 3.
7:46 During public comment parents spoke mostly about receiving high school schedules, concerns about masks in the middle and high school – some parents spoke about mitigating risk and another talked about the anxiety and stress her children would undergo.
1:43:33 Parent comments. Luke Tennies – Has a six year old. Concerned about mental health and negative impact about teachers in masks. Worried about how often kids will be told to social distance. Want a normal teacher-student non-mask experience.
Cindy – masking policy for high school. Superintendent says it is not required. Appreciate switch to block scheduling.
Monica – three kids in district. All three will wear a mask but doesn’t want it to be worn all day long.
56:58 End-of-year budget update. The district experience significant savings by having students learn from home. Utility savings without kids in buildings. Great efficiencies. Savings with sub teachers, staff development conferences canceled, dental visits canceled. Principals pumped the breaks on spending. $1.4 mil remaining in 2020 budget. In the past, anytime money remaining would be sent to Fund 46 and that would help save for future construction costs. There is currently $4.1 million in Fund 46. Motion to not transfer $1.4 mil to Fund 46 but keep it in fund balance for backup with any COVID expenses. Classrooms and staff will be equipped with PPE devices. Motion passed.
15:37 Costa Rica trip scheduled for spring break April 2020. Trip pushed off to November 2020 and now canceled. District has until end of July to decide to cancel trip and kids would only lose $239 rather than the whole amount. Now looking to book spring break trip so students can transfer 100% of payment. Now asking to book a trip to Thailand. Trip would be 11 days. 18 hour flight. Board asks why students have to fly so far away to do service work. Teacher said there is low interest in domestic service trips.
1:09:18 Discussion now about reopening schools and masks. With 410 of 500 youth baseball kids participating – asked health department about infection rate among youth. They don’t have that data yet. Opting out of electives at the middle school – some students can have study hall if they choose. National choir and band are working on plans for guidance. Those will be flexible and students can opt out for study hall.

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