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GLENWOOD CITY — With clear plastic barriers placed between each board and administrative team member, the Glenwood City Board of Education returned to its regular meeting space in room 404 this past Monday, September 14 for the first time since early March and the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meeting there for its first round of September’s slate of committee and regular session meetings, the board was given updates on the first few weeks of the new school year by the administrative team and approved several items on the consent agenda.
Nicole Brite, Director of Pupil Services and Special Education, was the first to speak to the board Monday evening.
Brite gave the board a brief update on the health office and the COVID-19 School Based Exclusion flow chart.
She said that the school district was informed on the second day of school that if a child or staff member should get sick or have symptoms that were related to COVID that all of their household members would need to be quarantined until the family received their results. Brite said that she has worked extensively with school nurse Jody Main and Superintendent Tim Johnson on how to communicate with families, how to decide who will be sent home and if the school would also send home household members or not.
Brite continued by saying that the district had received a flow chart from St. Croix County Public Health by in April on how to deal with persons showing signs of COVID-19 and that Main had highlighted the most important items from which Brite was able to create a more simplified chart.
“Basically, what now happens on any given day, when parents call their children in sick on the attendance line, we send the messages to Jody (Main) and screens them and then sends me an email that says which families to call and ask these questions regarding their child’s illness,” Brite told the board.
“Like we indicated, the families have been awesome to work with!” emphasized Brite. “I haven’t had anyone say “absolutely not”. When a child does get sick, we do send a letter home but it is completely up to the family what to do. If the family choses not to have their children tested that is completely fine but they are made aware their children will have to be quarantined for two weeks and until symptoms go away.”
“But as I indicated, all the families that I have spoken to (this year) have agreed to have their children tested and all have come back negative.”
Brite said that she herself had become ill on the first day of school and had to be tested. She said it was actually a great experience that she can relay to families on what it is like to go through the entire process. Superintendent Johnson interjected, saying jokingly, that Brite did have a negative test result.
Brite also gave the board an annual update on the district’s Restraint/Seclusion Report. She stated that during the 2019-20 school year there were three incidents of restraints used, all in the elementary school on three separate students, each of which were special education students.
When questions about who handles restraints and seclusions, Brite that special training is required and that the school current has what she called the “A-Team”, which is currently made up of four male staff members, that have had specialized training and are called in situations where restrains or seclusion might be needed.
In her final report to the Board, Brite recapped the number for summer school sessions which concluded August 14. She reported that 41 high school/middle school students were involved in credit remediation from the spring semester, 36 elementary and 18 4K students attended and that 90 students participated in the elementary summer school enrichment program and 96 participated in the sports skills sessions.
During his report, High School/Middle School and athletic director Patrick Gretzlock gave an extensive overview and explanation of “What’s Working and What’s Not” in the first three of the school opening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in what’s working were virtual learning, separation of drop-off zones at the beginning of the school day and end of day release and what’s not included drop-offs by parents that create a line of vehicle that extend out onto Highway 170, breakfast, end-of-the-day transportation, social distancing during lunch periods and lack of teacher-based instruction for the virtual learning.
Gretzlock also gave an update on the fall sports seasons which just got underway last week. He said that 54 percent of middle school students are participating in an extracurricular event with 39 in volleyball, 24 in football and 27 in cross country. 50 percent of high school students are also partaking in extracurriculars with 37 in football, that sports largest participation in nearly a decade, 32 in volleyball and 17 in cross country.
Elementary principal Betsy Haltinner discussed the start of the school year for her charges and went over the district’s virtual learning offering. She stated that Glenwood City currently has 31 students enrolled in the program which includes three 4K students, 15 elementary students and 13 middle and high schoolers.
During the consent agenda, the board approved a grant from the Everwood Farmstead Foundation, a $250 donation from the Faith Family Methodist church for COVID-related expenses, $500 anonymous donation to the backpack program and a $1,000 donation from the GC Volleyball Boosters toward the purchase of a HUDL camera/video package.
The board also approved the hiring of Amy Lenz as the yearbook advisor, Nanette Goodman as the 8th grade volleyball coach, Patrick Gretzlock to coach middle school football, Amanda Nelson as a student worker at Hilltopper Hangtime, Taylor Bergman as a volunteer volleyball coach, Erin Davis as a substitute for support staff and Patrick Olson as a volunteer football coach.
The board’s next meeting will be Monday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m.