By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — As of the November 17 Boyceville Board of Education meeting, the school district had only three fewer cases of COVID-19 than the school district experienced all of last year.
On the day of the school board meeting, Boyceville had 19 active cases and 85 were in quarantine, reported Nick Kaiser, district administrator.
The school district is only three away from the total last year, and it is only November, said Amber Carlsrud, school board member.
“This makes me nervous,” she said.
Carlsrud wondered if the school district was planning to use more mitigation strategies after the Thanksgiving break.
Boyceville, like many other school districts in the area, planned to have teacher in-service days on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week and no classes.
The spike in cases now is different than at the beginning of the school year, Kaiser said.
Now the virus is infecting entire households — moms, dads, children, grandmothers and grandfathers, he said.
When a family catches COVID-19, “it’s a large number all together,” and it is a reflection of what is happening in the community, Kaiser said.
COVID-19 numbers in the school district can “change dramatically in a few days,” for both increased and decreased numbers of cases, he said.
Last year, teachers and administrators were worried about the holiday breaks, but after Christmas, there was a not a big spike in cases, Kaiser said.
The “up and down” this fall also is reflective of what is going on in the community, he said.
Kaiser recommended “staying the course for now” and not making any changes to COVID-19 protocols.
DeeAnn Thompson, principal at Tiffany Creek Elementary, noted there are faster turn-arounds on quarantines.
Students can be tested on day six or seven after exposure, test negative, and then can come back to school on day eight, she said.
Many times, students are out of school for three, four or five days instead of the 14 days they were out on quarantine last year, Thompson said.
As of the day of the school board meeting, Tiffany Creek Elementary had 53 remote learners, and almost all of them were expected back in school after Thanksgiving, she said.
Tyler Moy, high school and middle school principal, reported there were 32 middle school and high school students who were learning remotely and that almost all of those, too, were expected to be back in school after Thanksgiving.
In other business, the Boyceville Board of Education:
• Learned from Bonnie Barker, director of special education, that this month’s mindfulness exercise is to write down 15 things “to focus on positives in our lives.” After the list is made, people should look at their list at the start of each day, or at the end of the day. The lists create a more thankful mode and a more calm mode and help people to be thankful instead of always worrying, she said.
• Learned that the PBIS activity (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) at Tiffany Creek Elementary is a penny drive. The money will used for incentives students can earn for positive behavior.
• Learned that the Boyceville FFA had gone to an FFA volleyball tournament and had won the tournament. There is now a traveling trophy in the agriculture classroom — a stuffed beaver — that will be there for the next 11 months, Moy said.
• Learned that the school district’s calendar committee would be discussing whether the Homecoming dance next year should be on Saturday evening rather than Friday evening after the football game.
• Accepted the resignation of Alesha Kersten as payroll and benefits clerk/community education director. Kersten has taken a different job. She has worked for the Boyceville school district for more than 20 years.
• Approved the school safety drill documentation and the school district safety plan as per Wisconsin Act 143.
• Approved setting the adult breakfast and lunch prices at $2.60 for breakfast and $4.75 for lunch. The school district is required to charge more than is received from the United States Department of Agriculture in reimbursement.
• Accepted three Mayo Clinic Health System School and Student Support Grants in the amount of $1,000 per grant. The grants will be used to support the Wellness Walk Program (grant application submitted by Joan Klassen, third grade teacher and Wellness Walk coordinator); Wellness Walk trail improvements, which may include new signage and additional marked wellness stops (grant application submitted by Thompson); and to host a family community event, the highlight of which will be a screening of the documentary film “Screenagers: Next Chapter, Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience” (grant application submitted by Gretchen Pederson, middle school guidance counselor).