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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Suring School District Lifts Mask Mandates, With Rules 3-32-2

Issue Date: April 28, 2021

Partly in response to urging from speakers during the time for public comment, Suring School Board at its meeting on Wednesday, April 14 agreed to waive the mandate for masks in school if a signed form by parent or guardian is submitted to the office and if social distancing is followed.

Also approved after the board discussion was allowing school music concerts to be held with spacing and capacity limits, bathroom doors being closed, concession stands to resume.

The board also agreed that awards programs will take place with parent invitations and social distancing; there will be no spectator limit for outside sports events on school property but social distancing and masks are recommended; summer camps are approved, with students from outside the district allowed to attend. Water fountains will remain as bottle fill only and the fitness room will not be open to the community until after the end of the current school year.

Those decisions came after much discussion of the mandated masks and other COVID-related issues, with all board members voicing their concerns. Information from Oconto County was shared along with COVID information from other area schools and data collected from a staff survey.

Paul Thompson was the first to speak during public comment time at the start of the meeting. He asked the board to remove the requirement for masks during classes and to also asked the board to remove the requirement for masks and contact tracing for the prom.

Michelle Thomson made known laws she felt have been violated by the school district in regards to mandating masks and shared results from community members and veterans she had personally surveyed.

Nicole Largo asked the board to allow her children to breathe free and to interact at milestone events like prom.

Tabitha School declared that since the mask mandate has been lifted, kids should have the option to wear a mask if they want to, but not be forced to wear one. She also questioned the board on the hiring process.

Brenda Schrank asked the board to lift the mask mandate because she feels that masks do nothing but spread more germs from touching the mask and then touching other things.

As a District Spotlight, Dennis Piepkorn was presented with a plaque from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards recognizing his 20 years of service on the board.

Action items for the board, in addition to the Covid-related issues, included approving the Washington DC trip for sixth through eighth-grade students in 2022, new course offerings for 2021-2022, Course Description Book 2021-2022, CESA 8 contract for 2021-2022, and several policy changes.

The board agreed to buy a scoreboard for the football field from Stratford Sign Company and cafeteria tables from Duet Resource Group.

They also approved the resignations of third-grade teacher, Mr. Romero; Becky Dickson as FBLA and Senior Class Advisor, Kristen Trader as HI-Q Advisor, and Kathy Runge as NHS Advisor.

Salaries for Teachers, Support Staff, Supervisory Staff, Administrators, and extra-curricular advisors were approved as recommended, as was the increase in the cost of health insurance.

Also during public input, Wrestling Coach Jeremy Krueger shared concerns regarding the wrestling program.

Technology Director Laura Strehlow presented the Board with her technology report. She gave information about eRate and how it works. She has applied for a new Firewall and a wireless controller for eRate funds. Strehlow informed the board that the district was awarded $4,200 from the "Teach" Grant that will cover the amount of the firewall and wireless controller that eRate does not cover. Google services, Chromebook damage, equipment purchased, and summer purchases were also shared by Strehlow.

The Finance Committee report of March 24 and the Administration Committee report of April 7, were shared. Emily Marcheske, Food Service Director, updated the board on the increase in numbers for the After School snack program, breakfast and lunch. Marcheske also informed the board that they are working on the dishwasher temperature gauge.

In her written report, Principal Pamela Berg informed the board that on March 9 the junior class had taken the ACT exam with writing, the Science Fair took place on March 24, a Corona Virus vaccine clinic was facilitated with Oconto County, and over two dozen meals were distributed for Easter through the Nurse's Nook.

Berg also informed the board on Distant Learner numbers, said the Safety Team is working with Chief Christensen to plan a spring evacuation drill in May and the school Social Worker shared Compassion Resilience information with staff. Student Wellness provided a Kids Cookbook to students and the After School Program provided a book for each child in the district grades 5K-8 twice this year.

Gerndt also told the board she had been working with Troy Blanchard on the football scoreboard and the track record board. They are waiting for the last proof and then it will be ordered.

In her Administrator report, Kelly Casper informed the Board that a letter had gone out to parents regarding summer school, virtual opportunities, and the Eagles Care group meeting to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28. Casper also informed the board that she expects graduation to take place in the gym with the football field as a backup.

The natural gas bill and the March transportation report were also discussed, and official school board election results and the CESA 8 report were shared.

A report by Athletic Director Heidi Gerndt included information on attendance at open gyms and numbers for spring sports.

During time for public comment, Wrestling Coach Jeremy Krueger shared concerns regarding the wrestling program.

Parent-teacher conferences scheduled for March 2 of 2022 have been changed to Feb. 23 of 2022.

Troy Blanchard, of maintenance, informed the board of bids and options that are available for the new scoreboard for the football field area. The scoreboard has an option of twenty spaces for sponsors, and at present, seventeen of those spots are sold. The maintenance department is recommending the sign from Stratford Sign Company. Greg Jaeger, the Maintenance Supervisor, updated the board on the purchase of cafeteria tables. The goal in replacing the current tables was to create a more inviting environment by using different styles and colors of seating examples. A visual reference of the projected project was presented to the board. Of the three bids received, Jaeger recommended the bid from Duet Resource Group from Milwaukee, and that recommendation was later approved by the board.

Academic off-site offerings for the 2021-2022 school year and summer maintenance and technology help were also among issues discussed by the board. Maintenance is looking at hiring two summer positions, and Technology is looking for one summer position.

Middle school teachers Kathy Runge and Mitch Taylor presented information on a Washington DC trip that they would like to offer to sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students in March of 2022 and every three years thereafter, and later in the meeting the trip for 2021-2022 was approved.

The Summer School update was given, and the board was advised that letters and sign-up forms had been sent to parents.

Items for Future Board Consideration include a possible property purchase by the football field and further discussion on graduation and COVID matters. The next regular board meeting, on Wednesday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m., will include the reorganization of board officials and the restructuring of board committees.

(All official Suring School Board publications, including school board meeting agenda and minutes, can be found on the school website www.suring.k12.wi.us.)


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