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Edgar ready for summer school

Edgar ready for summer school Edgar ready for summer school

A planned summer school in July will be a “dry run” for operating Edgar Public Schools in the fall during a COVID-19 pandemic, elementary principal Lisa Witt told school board members last week Wednesday.

The principal said she expected 373 students to attend this year’s shortened July 6-31 summer school. The school will have in-person classes, she said, but with safety protocols in place to minimize student and staff infection. “I am confi dent we will give it our best shot,” Witt said.

The principal said classrooms would be used at 50 percent capacity, school supplies will not be shared and the school playground will be “off limits.” There will be no group gatherings or assemblies and field trips have been pretty much all cancelled.

“Still, we feel we can offer the students a great experience,” Witt said.

The principal said students will be required to wash their hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and that desks and tables will be wiped down with Lysol 360 disinfectant several times a day by teachers and custodial staff. Staff will ask students with sickness symptoms or who have a temperature over 100 degrees to stay home. An Early Childhood classroom with a bathroom and sink will be used as a quarantine area for sick children.

Witt said the plan is to stagger students moving between classes in hallways and LEGOS that children play with will be sanitized in buckets of disinfectant.

“We will have our bases covered for the scenarios we think we will encounter,” she said. “We want to make sure we have a safe environment so our community can trust us.”

Witt said Edgar summer school will offer Fitness for Life sports classes, but these will be taught outside. Breakfast will be eaten in classrooms, not the school cafeteria, she said, and lunch will be eaten outside. Students playing basketball will be asked to bring their own ball.

“What we are going to tell students is they need to practice good hygiene,” she said. “We need to keep everybody safe so we can have summer school.”

School administrator Dr. Cari Guden said she and other staff will plan for a fall school reopening, learning from the summer school experience but also heeding anticipated guidelines from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

She said the guidelines would be recommendations, not mandates, and schools across Wisconsin would be able to adjust COVID-19 protocols based on local infection rates.

Guden supported this DPI approach.

“We’re different than Madison, Milwaukee or Wausau,” she said. ”I’d rather not have to follow strict mandates.”

Board member Corey Mueller didn’t disagree, but had a comment.

“That means we are out on out own,” he said. “If we fail, we fail on our own.”

In other board news:

_ School nurse Lara Beranek said she had a total of 2,755 student visits through March 15, when school was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that this school year she handled only a single 911 call, which was less than the prior year.

Beranek said that during the school shut-down she recorded a student lesson on Human Growth and Development and shared the video with school nurses statewide.

Beranek said many parents are divided over whether to send childen to school in the fall.

“Whatever we do, somebody will be unhappy,” she said. “Let’s make school as safe as we can make it.”

_ School librarian Leslie Swan reported her library has 22,862 books in the school collection with an average age of 2005. The collection worked out to 51.8 books per student, which is double the national average. She said students appreciated the number of books in the library. The average reading level of material is fourth grade.

Swan said a donation in memory of Elizabeth “Betty” Karlen will pay for a reading nook which will include a chair, table, plaque and books in a reading area.

_ Sports participation in the 2019-20 school year was reported. In girls sports, there were these many students: cross country, 20; volleyball, 31; basketball, 20; softball, 24 and track, 21. The boys participation in sports was as follows: football, 51, cross country, six; basketball, 29; wrestling, 12 and baseball, 29.

_ High school principal Tom McCarty said students have until Thursday, June 25, to finish course work in the 2019-20 school year. Students who don’t finish their work can either complete it during summer school or take classes over in the fall.

“We are trying to be flexible but we are also making sure the student learning happens,” he said.

_ Principal McCarty said he was planning an outside July 31 graduation ceremony, possibly on the school football field.

He said the event is being planned to keep people from getting infected with COVID-19.

“We are working with the Marathon County Health Department to make sure this is safe for everybody,” he said. “We will give our seniors the best we can under the circumstances.”

_ Board members accepted the resignations of counselor teacher Sarah Baltus, K-12 physical education teacher Angela Kollmansberger and high school math teacher Delaney Jenkins.

The board accepted the retirement of elementary school secretary Barb Lacke. Her 46-year career with the district will end Oct. 1, 2020. Board members hired Tom McCarty as girls head basketball coach and Krista Hanneman as a grade five intern. The board accepted Kris Federwicz’s resignation as a forensics coach.

_ Board members approved EMC property insurance for 2020-21 for $65,626, a $928 increase over this year.

_ Administrator Guden said nine out of district students have petitioned to open enroll into Edgar Public Schools in the fall; 15 students will open enroll out of the school district.

_ Board members will consider a policy about how much they should pay coaches when seasons are cancelled, such as during a pandemic. Board member Gary Lewis said he didn’t like paying coaches when seasons are cancelled. “If I get somebody to shingle my house, I don’t pay them half if a hurricane knocks my house down,” he said. “That’s not my way of thinking.”

Tom McCarty