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GLENWOOD CITY — The Glenwood City Board of Education unanimously accepted the resignation of middle school/high school principal Patrick Gretzlock Monday evening bringing a quiet end to what had been a tumultuous six-month ordeal in which some district residents and parents had voiced their concerns about the district’s handling of Gretzlock’s employment status and urged the board to retain and extend the principal’s contract.
The action came following a closed-door executive session which was held prior to the school district’s budget hearing and annual meeting Monday evening, August 16 in the commons area.
Gretzlock tendered his resignation last Friday, August 13.
In his letter to Glenwood City superintendent Tim Johnson and the board of education, Gretzlock wrote, “I have made a decision to pursue leadership opportunities outside the public sector and look forward to the challenges that await me in this change. While the past year has presented the district with numerous obstacles – related to COVID-19 or otherwise – I am proud of what we accomplished through these tumultuous times. I am equally proud and excited about the progress our academic programming has made under my leadership and hope that the successes that our team has generated will continue after my departure”
“I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been provided and the experiences that have helped shape me as an educational leader over the past seven years,” he added.
Gretzlock’s final day with the district was Monday.
The board also approved the hiring of Dean Ballanti for the open high school social studies teaching position following the executive session.
Much of Monday night’s business meeting centered around the discussion and approval of the district’s safe-return-to-school plan.
Superintendent Johnson began the discussion by telling board members and those in attendance that the district had emailed out its safe-return-to-school plan at the beginning of the month which addressed the new guidance and recommendation for schools regarding COVID-19.
Johnson said that the plan has not changed since it was sent out and went on to discuss some of most critical points of concern for parents and staff.
The superintendent noted that the CDC is recommending that masks be worn, adding that the district is also recommending that masks be worn but it will be optional, not mandatory as it was during last school year, for both students and staff.
The only exception will be the required use of masks when riding on any buses. Johnson pointed out that Glenwood City, as are all school districts, is under a CDC order that mandates the wearing of masks when on buses.
“We feel after discussion with both the legal counsel and the liability insurance that it is in our best interest to require masks for both students and drivers while on a school bus,” stated Johnson.
He said that there are currently two standing orders that drive that mandate – one from the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) which is set to expire September 13 but may be extended and the other by the CDC which does not have a deadline.
Johnson recommended to the board that the masking requirement on buses be followed.
He also said that social distancing has changed under the new plan. It asks that a three-foot social distance be maintain whenever possible regardless of whether a person is vaccinated or unvaccinated, is masked or not, but also encourages kids to eat lunch together and learn in groups.
Individuals are being asked to take extra precautions to avoid touching eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands, and to cover their coughs.
Hand sanitizer will remain available in the classrooms and on buses according to Johnson. He also said that the district will continue with routine daily cleaning in classrooms as it always has.
He did say that the CDC has backed off its recommendation to continuously disinfect surfaces.
Sanitary wipes will be available for students and staff to wipe down their desks and commonly used areas but that classrooms will only be disinfected once a week beginning in the new academic year.
The plan will still require quarantine if someone in a household tests positive for COVID-19. But, if an individual is vaccinated and there is a positive in the household, and if that person wears a mask, and gets tested in three to five days they will not be required to quarantine.
Johnson did say that if there are any active cases in a classroom that parents of students in that classroom will be made aware of it so that any symptoms can be monitored but the district would not require isolation quarantine.
Johnson said that they would re-open district buildings to visitors for such things as lunchtime visits by parents if that buildings’ administration is contacted prior to the visit. He did say the plan allows for the community to attend all sporting events and extracurricular events.
The superintendent noted that if the district does experience an increase in positive COVID cases or guidance changes, different mitigation procedures would be implemented to try and keep everyone safe in school.
Johnson said that through weekly conversations with the St. Croix County Health Department and other St. Croix County school districts (Somerset, Baldwin-Woodville, and New Richmond) were following very similar protocols like those listed in Glenwood City’s safe-return-to-school plan.
In other business, the board of education approved the hires of Brianna Bach as a part-time paraprofessional, Jessie Anderson as a support staff substitute, Carson Strong as a volunteer wrestling coach, and Ericka Peterson as a middle school volleyball coach. The board also approved to post open positions for assistant softball coach and high school student council advisor.