Saturday, July 18, 2020

Exeter-Milligan School Board Discusses Reopening

The Exeter-Milligan school board met Wednesday, July 8 in the Exeter gymnasium.  Close to 100 guests were present for the meeting.

President Adam Erdkamp welcomed the visitors and noted they would be taking care of all of the business items before they would open the discussion on the proposed consolidation with Friend Public School.

The board opened two hearings required by statue, one on student fees which opened and closed with no public comment and the other on the parent involvement policy which also garnered no comment.
The board approved the consensus agenda as presented.

Under old business Superintendent Paul Sheffield gave an update on the bathroom remodeling at both sites noting that both should be complete before school starts.  He informed the board they are still waiting on the contractor to start on the sidewalks.

Sheffield reported he had been working on the 2021 budget and the district has been slated for $39,000 in state aid.  He saw no real changes to the budget for next year.

Under new business Sheffield reported that the student handbooks are now available online.  The only change he mentioned was in regards to absences.  Previously, students had to attend at least half of the school day to participate in an activity, now, that attendance policy has been extended to include students who want to attend an activity.

The board approved the free and reduced lunch meal guidelines. There were no changes to the policy but because Exeter-Milligan does not receive government assistance for the program it is on the agenda each year.

The board approved Allison Petersen as a substitute in the district.

The board reviewed the census report filed with the state before discussing the fall reopening plan.
“We are planning on opening as scheduled,” according to Sheffield.  “We are not going to require masks, we will recommend, but not require.”

He explained that the one exception to this policy would be if the COVID dial would move to the red area.

The district has a committee working on issues relating to COVID at school.  It is working on a protocol if there is a positive case.  “They have recommended not having the open house to help minimize exposure and risks.  We may set up individual times for incoming kindergarten, third and seventh graders as they are entering a different facility,” Sheffield explained.

The committee has also recommended not charging admission or passing out programs during the fall sports season.  All students will have a temperature check before entering the bus. They will also be checked once they get to school.  The committee will have a written plan in place by July 25.

“Have your kids get used to wearing a mask even if just for 10 or 15 minutes at a time,” recommended Sheffield, “We did survey the parents and 80% of the parents did not want to require students to wear masks.”

The school plans to have 5 fabric masks on hand per student, one for each day, and then plans to wash the masks on the weekends.

After the consolidation discussion Sheffield informed the board that Exeter-Miligan would be hosting the county fair goat, sheep, pig and beef show on Striv.

The board excused member Kendra Oldehoeft and set the next regular meeting for August 12 at 8 pm in Milligan.

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