Stratford will require face masks at school
The Stratford Board of Education on Monday voted 4-1 to require K-12 grade students and school staff to continue wearing masks at school after the statewide mask mandate expires on Monday, Sept. 28.
School board members Jeannie Tichy, Brian Zaleski, Pam Warosh and Carol Ballerstein voted in favor of mandatory masks with an exception for students and staff who have a doctor’s note stating they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing one.
Chris Dickinson, school board president, voted against the motion because he doesn’t believe students and staff wearing masks at school necessarily prevents the spread of COVID-19. He provided the other school board members and school district administrators at the meeting with statistics he researched that say young children are at a low risk of dying from COVID-19.
Ballerstein said that although a lot of young children aren’t dying from COVID-19, they are dealing with other side effects of the virus such as always being out of breath. Warosh said the school district needed to look out for its teachers, especially those who are older and might have underlying health conditions.
Tichy said wanted the school district to continue to abide by the Center for Disease Control’s guideline that it’s necessary for people to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID.
Scott Winch, Stratford schools superintendent, began Monday’s meeting by reading letters to the school board that he received from local doctors supporting the school district requiring its staff and students to wear masks. He read letters from doctors Karen Shulman and Taylor Joswiak from the Marshfield Medical Center’s Stratford clinic, and also from Dr. Kelli Wehman Tubbs from Marshfield Medical Center. The school board plans to revisit the school district’s mask requirement at its next meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12.
In other school news:
_ The school board voted on a new two-year contract with Ulrich Bus Service of Stratford for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. The school district would pay Ulrich Bus Service $367.57 per day for transporting students to and from school. Rates for the 2021-22 school year will be negotiated at a later date.
The bus contract states if the school district has less than 173 days of inperson school in 2020-21, then Ulrich Bus Service would only charge the school district 85 percent of the daily base rate per bus per day charge for the difference in days.
The school board agreed in the contract with Ulrich Bus Service that on July 1, 2021, this contract might be transferred from Ulrich Bus Service to Pape School Bus. At that time, the bus contract would be amended from a two-year agreement to a four-year contract with all other contract language remaining the same.
_ The school board voted to change the supplemental pay plan for teachers. They’ll now receive an increase of $1,250 in pay on their salaries every other year, instead of each year, when they obtain 90 supplemental hours of professional development.
_ School board members voted to make minor changes to the 2020-21 school calendar. Students will now have one early dismissal at 12:30 p.m. on a Wednesday each month to allow for staff meetings; the first early dismissal is on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Winch told the school board a staff member would hold a study hall for students who attend CCD at St. Joseph’s Catholic School from 12:30-3 p.m. on each Wednesday early dismissal.
Another change to the 2020-21 school calendar is parent teacher conferences for middle and high school students will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Parent teacher conferences for elementary school students will be from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and parent teacher conferences for all students in four-year-old Kindergarten through 12th grade will be from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.
_ Winch reported each football and volleyball student athlete are allowed a total of four admission tickets for their family and friends to attend their sporting events this fall.
Stratford’s football team is in the Central Wisconsin Conference (CWC) Large for the first time this season. Winch said CWC-Large member schools’ Amherst, Manawa and Weyauwega- Fremont are not allowing any fans at their home football games this year.
He said Stratford, Nekoosa, Spencer/ Marshfield Columbus and Wittenberg-Birnamwood are allowing a certain number of fans given tickets from each student athlete to attend their home games, while Shiocton is open to anyone attending its home football games like in a normal season.
Winch said Stratford, Nekoosa and Spencer/Marshfield Columbus won’t allow opposing fans from Amherst, Manawa and Weyauwega-Fremont to attend their home games as reciprocation for them not allowing fans at their home games this season. Stratford’s first game this season is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, at Wittenberg-Birnamwood.