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updated 3:04 AM, Nov 27, 2020 America/Chicago

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Onalaska ISD holds summer meeting for fall plans

onalaskaISDOnalaska ISD board members talk about the logistics of the 2020-2021 school year while sporting a variety of masks, including homemade, paper, and even one with a clear plastic shield to better communicate with hearing-impaired individuals. (Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula Photo)

By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula

Sitting a little further apart than usual, the Onalaska ISD School Board met Monday evening to discuss the logistics of remote and in-person learning throughout the district’s campuses.

Transportation and Campus Logistics

As the district prepares to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year, campuses “prepare for in-person instruction in order to give as close to a traditional school environment as possible, while providing a safe learning environment for our students and our employees.” 

The board opened the meeting by reviewing a draft of the district’s safety and health procedures, which will include instructional components and options for remote and on-campus learning. Each campus faces their own unique challenges and will be responsible for finalizing their own procedures to comply with district reopening.

Procedures in the draft include bus drivers taking student temperatures with no-touch thermometers before boarding. Given the uncertainty of social distancing on buses, the district is asking guardians to pre-screen their child or to remain at the bus stop until their child’s temperature is taken. 

Students showing abnormal temperatures will be asked to return home with their guardian. If they are not present, the school will attempt to reach them. If not able to contact, the student will board and sit with a mask on in a quarantined area. Once at the school, the student will remain quarantined until a guardian can pick them up.

Similarly, students dropped off will also be screened before entering the building. Staff will self-screen for a list of symptoms that will be included in the district’s safety and health procedures packet and will sign an audit stating so.

The district has already been using no-touch thermometers during summer workouts, but note that they are mindful of nuances with the machine’s accuracy in regards to outside temperatures and factors such as hats and physical activity. Classroom doors will remain open since they are common touch areas, but will lock if closed. 

Students who rely on the district for meals will be handed their breakfast to-go as they exit their bus or car and take it to their first period class to eat. During lunch, where there are multiple sessions, the district plans to use multiple facilities, including gyms, to further distance students. In accordance with TEA based off CDC recommendation, should a student be confirmed or suspected of being sick, they will wait until three days after their fever has passed, show an improvement of symptoms, and have a waiting period of at least 10 days since the first symptom appeared. 

“We have a lot to administer. It’ll be a challenging year,” OISD President Ted Wiggins said. The decision was made to take the draft home for the board to review.

Before finalizing the draft, the results of the district-wide survey (which can be found on the district’s Facebook page and website) will be taken into consideration to determine how many students will potentially use buses and how many students will be utilize in-class options. The hope is that enough parents will opt for remote learning or bring their children to school to reduce crowding on busses and classrooms.

Tornado Repairs

The district reached out to Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong to assess campuses for structural damages caused by the tornado. The district will seek bids, specifications, and documents prior to work, but the architecture firm has looked at the facilities and forwarded a contract to insurance. Damages sustained to the high school, agriculture barn, transportation department, and others show signs of stress to roofs, which the district anticipates will need to be replaced. 

The group in question was the original architect of the high school and is familiar with the building. The insurance company will require an inspection to ensure the structures are rebuilt correctly.

Agenda

The Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for campuses will be updated in accordance with the Texas School Safety Center’s update to their own format. Required added sections include active shooter policies, continuity of operations, and communicable diseases.

The district also updated several Memorandum of Understandings (MOU), including with the City and Youth Sports Associations in regards to using areas around the city like Garland Park as sites the school uses for evacuations and parent pick-ups.

No updates were made to the elementary 2020-2021 school code of conduct, but the high school made minor consolidations with similar terms and consequences. A motion was made to approve the changes and passed.

Extracurriculars for Virtual Students

A resolution was created by task and policy services to prevent students from participating in in-person extracurricular activities, practices, and performances while they are in remote learning for that grading period only. The board stated this is a recommendation and not an enforcement from TEA and passed the motion.

Bids

A tabled discussion from last month resumed in regards to a deal with Kavyu Enterprise in the amount of $1,400 for Lots 374 and 375, Section 5, Sportsman’s Retreat that did not meet the established threshold. Higher quality photos of the property brought to the meeting showed that the existing facility would need to be torn down. A motion was made to accept the motion as is in order to get it moving along and was approved. A bid from Jason and Sherry Pierce in the amount of $1,072 for Lot 82, Block 1, Section 2, Twin Harbors which did meet the established threshold was immediately made a motion and passed. For a calendar of future Onalaska ISD board meetings, please visit https://www.onalaskaisd.net/ and click on the “Superintendent’s Office” tab at the top, scroll to the bottom and click “School Board Agendas.”