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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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COVID-19 Cases Soar, Crivitz Changes Rules

Issue Date: September 23, 2021

The 2021-2022 school year got off to a good start at Crivitz, according to reports at the regular monthly school board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 15. However, it didn't take long for the Coronavirus to start rearing its ugly head, and by the time of the meeting there were five active cases at the elementary school and three at the high school. Of the eight cases, two were staff and six were students. The board set a special meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 21 to decide how to deal with the issue.

By the time Sept. 21 arrived, the number of positive-test Covid cases had risen drastically. Superintendent Patrick Mans had reported there were 34 cases in the school, 19 high school students, 18 elementary students and five staff members.

After long hard debate at the special meeting, the board decided to continue with in-person classes, continue to recommend, but not require wearing masks, increase quarantine requirements, obtain rapid test equipment, and renew a plea to parents to keep kids at home if they appear ill.

There are new quarantine measures adopted by the Board without dissent, after nearly two hours of intense discussion was:

The new rules will remain in effect until the Nov. 27 board meeting, at which time the board will again consider the issue.

Sports can continue, with spectators still to be allowed. However, athletes are subject to the same quarantine rules as the overall student body, and there were reports outside the meeting that some teams are close to falling short of the numbers they need to compete.

Prior to the vote, Mans had said by comparison the much larger Green Bay school district had 19 staff members test positive, and 75 students, .35 percent of the student body, while Crivitz had 3.9 percent of students test positive. Wausaukee had two staff and 11 students with positive tests, and Coleman had two staff and nine students. "We are quite a bit ahead of all the area school districts," Mans told the board. He suggested the board should consider its primary motivation - first, to keep all students healthy and safe, and second to continue the 5-day, all-day instruction model. He stressed that the school, during the school day, operates "in loco parentis," since parents are by law required to send their children to school when they are healthy until they turn 18. He compared mask requirements and other provisions to setting a dress code, which not everyone may agree with, but everyone must comply with. He strongly recommended at least quarantine rules to help protect students and staff.

Board members Mike Dama and Lyle Cherry were absent. Present were Board President Amy Grandaw, Kayla Ihde, Kris Heidewald, Gary Huc, and Mike Frievalt.

Grandaw said Dama had called her on Friday, and he believed as she did, that they need to do some sort of quarantine. She suggested putting new rules in place for the six weeks until the end of the first quarter and then revisit the issue. The new quarter begins on Nov. 1. She said Coleman has a rapid test facility at its school, andvthe board had previously done away with nearly all of the Covid prevention measures that had been taken last year, with the exception of added cleaning and sanitization practices. Before doing that, they had agreed if there were more than five cases in one building they would call a special meeting to decide what steps they should take next, which led to the Sept. 21 meeting.

On Sept. 21, Elementary Principal Kelly Robinson said all the cases there were new as of Monday, so the number would not go down, but would likely go up in the coming week. She added the students are not "cohorting" this year, so there is not a good way to separate the exposed from unexposed.

Mans said with so many staff members ill or quarantined, they are severely short of teachers. Mrs. Robinson has been teaching full-day classes herself to fill in for the absent teachers.

The board room was packed with over 40 spectators in addition to board members and administrative personnel. About a dozen of those in the audience were masked, and appeared to be school staff. All were orderly and mainly silent throughout the meeting. There was no provision for public comment, which had been an issue at the Sept.15 meeting, when people suggested they should be allowed to speak after board discussion, not before, because agendas were not sufficient enough for them to know what was being considered.

During discussion that frequently quoted CDC guidelines prior to the vote, Ihde urged the board to be more pro-active, and expressed frustration with the CDC's failure to provide recommendations on how to stay healthy, for example failure to advise people to exercise, get fresh air and eat properly.

Prior to the unanimous board vote in favor of the measures that were finally put in place there were suggestions, particularly from Frievalt and Huc, for many stronger measures from the get-go, but Grandaw argued, "If we shot-gun everything, how do we know what worked?"

Frievalt argued for stronger measures and eliminate them when the numbers drop, but he too declared, "The virtual options we had last year were a disaster."

Mans suggested adopting all the CDC guidelines, including mandatory masking. He said he will order the rapid test machine, but it will take a little time to get it. Health Aide Salina Polomis said staff will need to be trained to use it, and testing will require staff time. Mans said that was a problem at Wausaukee for a few days, but things quickly got easier.

Mans also said as to quarantine, those who test positive are said to be contagious for 10 days, so students living in a household with someone who tests positive could get the virus on the first day, or the 10th day.

To questions from Huc, Robinson and High School Principal Jeff Baumann both said their staff can go to virtual learning if necessary. Robinson said it would be extremely difficult, nearly impossible, to go back to cohorting and 6-foot social distancing at this point.

The board was told there are currently 103 students out sick from the high school and 97 out from elementary school. Grandaw commented they are at least staying home now, "...last week they were coming to school sick."

Robinson said even if you are vaccinated, there is no guarantee you will not get covid, and Mans repeated the CDC recommendation is for everyone to wear masks in school, vaccinated or not. He said there is hope a vaccine will be available soon for five through 12-year-olds.

Staff who stay home under quarantine can use sick days until they run out. Heidewald suggested staff who run out of sick days could ask co-workers to donate their unused days, as has been done in other situations.

Ihde said the biggest challenge is that parents cannot afford health care. No one had an answer for that.

It was agreed the new quarantine rules will become effective immediately. Staff members present said they could not repeat all the prior phone calls to people who had been in close contact previously, but can relay the new information in all future calls. Frievalt volunteered to come in and help make calls, and Heidewald also offered.

In other action at the meeting "My goal is to have students in classes with a teacher...That's where they should be! That's what works best!"

Other action at the meeting included approving Nikki Marlatt and Ashley Schwartz as paraprofessional employees and substitute clerical employees, Kristin Strojny as a substitute custodial employee, and former student Austin Ducaine as a science teacher practicum volunteer.

At the Sept. 15 meeting the board had accepted resignations of Dan Schrader as track coach and Anthony Schnabl as a part-time custodian.

Brett Meyers was approved as a JV2 volley ball coach, and Kristy Miller and Stacie Witt were approved as Camp Bird counselors, along with a long list of junior counselors for Camp Bird.

Amanda Nelson was approved as a Middle School Student Council advisor. Ksenia Matson and Ruth Hucek were approved as short-term substitute teachers, and a long, long list of sports volunteers was approved.

The board approved hiring an engineer to design specifications for possibly air conditioning the High School Gym.

Baumann reported the 2021-22 school year at the middle/high school had gotten off to a great start. "It is very strange to walk into a building with 350 students whereas, at this time last year, we only had about 150. We had a couple of minor hiccups on our first day involving where students had to report as we ran our shortened bell schedule, but since then, things have run very smoothly, even with all the changes we have implemented," he added.

"Next week, in what will be another first caused by Covid, our 8th grade students will spend the week at Camp Bird. This group of students was not able to go to Camp Bird as 6th graders because of the school closures that occurred in February two years ago. I know the kids are very excited to finally get their chance to experience Camp Bird, and I would like to thank Mr. Graves and all of the counselors for the extra work they have put forth to make this happen. The 6th grade students will still be going in the spring of this school year."

Baumann's report continued, "We are still currently waiting for our lockers to be delivered for grades 7 and 8. The students and staff have adapted to this situation by allowing students to store books and other items in teachers' classrooms, and the students have been using backpacks to carry items such as textbooks and Chromebooks. We are hoping that the lockers will arrive early next week and be installed by the end of the week. It has actually been a very minor annoyance so far, and I would like to thank the students and staff for handling it so smoothly."

Elementary Principal, Kelly Robinson, reported the Aug. 25 open house had a great turnout. Waldo the Wolverine even made an appearance. "It was great to see so many people back in the building," she added.

Parent/teacher conferences will be held Oct. 6 and 13. 4K-6th grade conferences are scheduled through Skyward. Parents can log into their accounts and schedule conferences.

On Friday, Sept. 3 there was a PBIS kick off in the gym. "We talked about what PBIS is and the different incentives we have to promote positive behavior of all students. We are excited to be back to doing some of the things we have done in the past such as Winter Olympics and field trips," Robinson had concluded.

Technology Coordinator Nick Schram reported the start of the school year was quite busy for everyone technology-wise, adding: "I am happy to report that it went very smoothly overall with no major issues or complications." He said one positive that resulted from last year was how they plan the first day of school. He now meets with all 7-12 students to help them reset their passwords, access the applications they need for the year, and distribute Chromebooks. "Doing so allows us to check a lot of boxes solely on that first day, versus over multiple days, so classes can begin right away on day two," he said.

Schramm thanked Sierra Cooper, Bryan Anderson, Zach LaCroix, and Brian Arpke for all the work and effort they put in this past summer to make the start of the school year as smooth as possible. "We couldn't have done it without them," he declared.

Schram concluded that they are currently working to wrap up and complete some of the projects left over from summer and beginning next week, we will be able to focus more on some of the daily work orders that have come in since school started.

Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Director Tom White reported as they do every year, Mr. Mans, he and the principals met with the bus contractors and their drivers on Aug. 23 to go over transportation routes and procedures. After the initial meeting school nurses provided the drivers with necessary emergency medical training.

"As you may have noticed, work has finally begun on the high school main entry," White commented. "As part of our facility needs plan, all the high school south entry doors, thresholds and hardware will be replaced. Work will continue tomorrow and they plan to finish by the end of the week.

As to Transportation Record Keeping, Schram thanked high school secretary Val Borkovec for her assistance in cleaning up transportation records and preparing the routes for this school year. "This proved to be a daunting task with the number of new students and the transfer of ownership of 2 of our routes to Lamer's Bus Lines. Through persistence and hard work we finished just in time for the start of school," he said.

Construction is underway on the new high school athletic storage building located on the north end of the football field. Hideaway Builders received permission to start construction pending state approval of the building plans, but until the state gives the go ahead to proceed they have only been allowed to pour the concrete, which has already been done. "We are still hopeful that we will have a competed building before the snow flies," White concluded

Athletic Director Jeff Dorschner reported fall sports are underway. He said participation numbers are higher than expected in football and volleyball. Football was 2-2 overall (1-1 in the NFC), with all four games this season being decided by four points or less.

Volleyball was currently tied for 1st place in the M&O Conference with Wausaukee and would square off in a dual with them the following night at home for their final meeting of the year.

Cross Country has been competing this fall in all their scheduled meets with the exception of the Algoma invite due to wet course conditions. The boys varsity has a full squad while the varsity girls will compete as individuals.

Jr. High sports participation numbers have increased in football and in volleyball this season as well.

"Our Hudl Focus cameras are up and operating," Dorschner said, and added, "A big thank you to Tom White and his staff, Nick Schram, and Mike Frievalt who helped with the installation process. Our home events in both football and all events in the high school gym are now live streamed on our school athletic YouTube page free of charge in addition to still being on the NFHS Network."

He said currently the athletic department was working on creating opportunity for our girls and boys basketball teams this winter, returning to Oshkosh to play at the Wisconsin Herd Facility and their Court of Dreams program. The tentative date for that opportunity is Monday, Dec. 27 as JV and Varsity Girls Basketball teams will compete vs Gillett and our Varsity Boys will take on Gillett in the afternoon with the Wisconsin Herd game that night, in addition they have been in talks with the Milwaukee Bucks to play again at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee this winter.


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