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Edgar students adapt to COVID-19

Edgar students adapt to  COVID-19 Edgar students adapt to  COVID-19

Principals at Edgar Public Schools last week Wednesday told the board of education that students have adapted well to school during the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Elementary principal Lisa Witt said students are kept in cohorts and required to wear masks, but do so willingly and have presented no discipline problems.

“The kids have been amazing,” she reported. “They are so positive, respectful. They want to be here and their parents, too, have been so supportive.”

Witt said school assemblies have been ruled out during the pandemic as well as wholeschool recesses. Lunches are mostly eaten in classrooms.

She reported Fischer Transportation normally runs five double bus routes in both the morning and afternoon in order to seat no more than 22 students per bus. Middle school and high school principal Tom McCarty said his students have been “absolutely fantastic” in adjusting to COVID-19 rules, including wearing a mask.

“The students know that wearing a mask is the price of being here,” he said.

McCarty reported that scheduling a resource hour at the end of the school day has been positive.

Both Witt and McCarty reported that while students are adjusting to COVID- 19 protocols, teachers are “stressed out” having to prepare both in-class and virtual classes Witt said a new Bluejean distance education software has been time consuming for staff to use and, basically, a lot of work.

“It’s going,” she said. “Every week is better.”

The principals reported there are nine high school students who have opted for virtual instruction and a dozen at the elementary school. Parents of 17 elementary school students have opted for homeschool.

In other school board news:

n IT director Chris Trawicki said the school has purchased 39 cameras for virtual learning and 40 licenses for the Bluejean distance education software.

He said the district had planned to buy 400 Chromebooks in October but, due to a lack of availability, the district is keeping its old machines with a few updates.

Trawicki reported the district’s computer system is not even at half capacity with all of the virtual education.

n Board members agreed to shortterm borrow $1.4 million from BOK Finance, Austin, Texas. The district short-term borrowed $1.8 million last year.

n District administrator Cari Guden said that, following a discussion with the Marathon County Health Department, she will likely recommend students at Edgar Public Schools wear a mask even after Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order for wearing a mask lapses on Sept. 28. The board will consider a school mask rule in October. Board member Gary Lewis said the public needed to get behind wearing a mask to right the COVID-19 pandemic. “You can’t sit on the fence and ride,” he said. “You’ve got to be part of the solution or you are part of the problem.”

n Principal McCarty said football and volleyball under COVID-19 rules has begun. Fan attendance has been limited, he said, to ensure social distancing. Visiting schools will not be able to use locker rooms, he reported, and volleyballs and footballs have to be disinfected after each play or set.

n Principal McCarty said a Hall of Fame induction is scheduled for Oct. 16 with no student assembly. This year’s inductees are Paul Martin (class of 1979), a professor of mathematics at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau; Karl Martin (class of 1986), dean and director of the Division of Extension at UWMadison; and Greg Kornack, owner/ operator of Greg Gruett’s Appliance and Edgar Fire Department member.

n Board members said they would discuss a possible district referendum after presentation of the 2020-21 school year budget in October.

n Dr. Guden announced the hiring of four special education paraprofessionals. They are Miryssa Anderson, Kamryn Butt, Kelsey Strobel and Emily Verre.

Tom McCarty