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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound Board of Education has awarded bids for roofing projects and for the swimming pool unit that are part of the district’s $15 million referendum approved by voters in the April election.
Three bids were received for roofing, and the bid was awarded to Muir Roofing, said Eric Wright, school district administrator, at the Elk Mound school board’s September 21 meeting.
The roofing projects are at the middle school and high school but only those portions of the roofs that were not replaced in the last referendum 10 years ago, he said.
By splitting the roofs into two replacement cycles, in the future, the school district will be in a better position to replace roofs as part of the regular budget, Wright said.
The bid for the pool unit was awarded to Hovland’s Inc. The unit is on order and will take awhile to obtain, but the plan is to install the unit this winter, he said.
The construction consultants from CESA also attended the meeting, and the next step will involve soliciting other bids this fall, Wright said.
The schematic drawings for the middle school and high school are still in the works yet, and there are some unforeseen circumstances that must be navigated before the schematics can be finished, such as relocating a transformer at the middle school, relocating the grease trap at the high school and a roof issue at the high school, he said.
Before the final drawings are approved, they will be posted to the school district’s website, Wright said.
The staff at Elk Mound has been working hard to adjust to the new procedures and protocols put into place for COVID-19, Wright said.
Adjustments have had to be made at Elk Mound High School because of the spike of cases in Dunn County. KT Gallagher, Dunn County health officer, contacted the school district about the increase in cases and the need to be able to do contact tracing quickly and efficiently, he said.
Students at Mound View Elementary and the middle school are in cohorts [students stay in their same classroom group all day] but the high school has required adjustments because students go to different classrooms, and students in different age groups are in classes together, Wright said.
Many of the class sizes at Elk Mound High School are small enough that students can be social distanced in the classroom, but some of the larger classes have required “overflow rooms” to keep students spread out, he said.
Overflow rooms include the auditorium and the library, and students who must go to an overflow room then access the class remotely from where they are located, Wright said.
So far the adjustments have been going well, he said.
To date, the Elk Mound school district has had only one case of COVID-19, and everyone is working hard to keep the doors open, Wright said.
The biggest concern is if the school district gets into a position where staff is not available. All of the school districts are experiencing difficulty in finding substitute teachers, so if the teachers, the bus drivers or the food service workers are out because of COVID-19, it will be difficult for the school district to stay open, he said.
The mask requirement was put into the handbooks in August, so the mask requirement will continue no matter whether there is a state-wide mask mandate. If students and staff do not wear masks, the school district will not be able to stay open, Wright said.
Homecoming has been cancelled for this year. The parade, which draws a crowd of people, and the school assembly, which also involves people crowding together, are not possible and are not wise to do, Wright said.
The school district is considering having a Spirit Week in October, and if the weather permits, a parade will be held next spring. If there is snow on the ground yet in late April, then a parade would not be feasible, but if there is an early spring, the goal is to have a parade in the spring, he said.
There are many opportunities the kids are missing because of COVID-19, so the school district is trying to find creative ways to give kids more opportunities, Wright said.
In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Approved safety drills that had been completed in all three buildings on September 11 as per Wisconsin Act 143.
• Scheduled the next meeting for October 26. A board development activity will be held prior to the regular meeting.
• Scheduled a short-range planning meeting for November 10.
During a closed session:
• Approved hiring Angie Nechanicky as a full-time paraprofessional.
• Approved hiring Billy Bodenburg as a custodian related to COVID-19.
• Approved hiring April Sarbeck as a food service employee.
• Approved hiring Lataya Hayden as a part-time paraprofessional/health aide.