The Exeter-Milligan school board met in a special meeting on July 30, 2020 in the Exeter-Milligan gymnasium. The meeting was also available for interested parties to watch on STRIV.
The primary purpose for the meeting was to discuss reopening policies for the upcoming school year.
Superintendent Paul Sheffield presented a blueprint plan for reopening. The plan was formulated by a committee made up of Sheffield, Principal Laura Kroll, business manager Jackie Yound, elementary teacher Laura Steuben, secondary teacher Amy Tomlison, maintenance staff /bus driver Steve Briske, school nurse Marilyn Pribyl, and school counselor Denice Kovanda.
The committee report showed four levels of response to the pandemic in order to keep students learning at school as long as it is safe.
The district emailed the information to each school family and also placed them on their website.
All students will be required to wear masks on school transportation (no exceptions). Parents may option their students out of wearing a mask but if a student contracts COVID 19 all students in the same school group (K-2, 3-6, or 7-12) who are not wearing masks will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
There are a few exceptions to the mask rule. Students under 5 will not have to wear a mask nor will students be required to wear one at recess, during PE and for activities like welding.
Temperatures will be taken before students enter school transportation or enter the school building. Students who display any symptoms will be asked to stay at home.
Principal Laura Kroll added that they are adding an option for a zoom absence in their attendance records, ‘they will have to be on the zoom to be counted.”
Sheffield explained that no field trips are being planned for the 20-21 school year, “I truly think we will have to go to e-learning at some point. We want to get as much school time as we can.”
No non-essential visitors or volunteers will be allowed in the school. Parents wanting to drop something off for their students will be asked to bring it to the office.
The district cancelled the open house before school starts but kindergarten, third and seventh graders have been invited to an orientation.
Lunchtimes will be staggered and additional space for eating will be opened up to spread out the upper grades.
The district is following the guidelines set out by the NSAA for athletic and academic activities. Their committee has recommended that entrance fees are waived for all sports activities. No programs will be distributed but will be available for viewing online. Safe precautions are being outlined for concessions.
Sheffield praised the staff at Public Health Solutions, “They have been so easy to work with. This is all going to be a work in progress. I can guarantee there will be some hiccups along the way. It’s a group effort, we are going to rely on everyone. We want to keep kids in school as much as we can.”
School Board President Adam Erdkamp.asked, "From the committees recommendation we are not going to offer online learning as an option?"
“If e-learning was the way to go we would be doing it 100 percent of the time,” explained Sheffield.
One patron asked if they considered going to a staggered schedule like Lincoln has proposed.
Sheffield explained that the number of the students in each class allows the district to socially distance but they did have one parent who planned to homeschool.
The other item on the short agenda was a discussion on the Wednesday, Aug 5 meeting in Geneva with the Fillmore Central school board about the feasibility study. The boards will meet at 7:30 p.m. in the media center.
Erdkamp added that he would, “Make a recommendation to use the same people we used in the study with Friend. It would be easier to go through and compare our options.”
The board passed the reopening blueprint resolution unanimously.