By Wanda Hanson
In Superintendent Jon Thompson’s report to the Rushford School Board at their meeting on October 19, 2020, he explained why the elementary had changed its learning model. The county COVID numbers have been increasing per 10,000. Classes for fourth graders are now being held in larger rooms including the forum room and the music room to allow for better social distancing. The sixth grade has moved to hybrid learning following the same model as the middle school/high school. Thompson stressed that the students weren’t getting sick, noting that the county is using common sense in dealing with the numbers.
So far three students have tested positive for COVID; all have now returned to school. Staff who have had COVID include one teacher, one para, one HVED teacher, and one coach; all have returned to school. Nineteen students have had to quarantine because of close contact to positive cases; 15 have already returned. Nine staff members have quarantined with only one left to return to school. Thompson shared that staff had had to be moved around to cover classes when teachers were quarantined.
Thompson went on to share the various COVID funds that R-P has been using. Utilizing the state CARES funding, the school has purchased two new vans. Fillmore County gave the school $66,000 in CARES funding; this was used for technology needs such as iPads, Chromebooks, laptops and MacBooks.
ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Relief) funds ($60,800) and GEER (Governor’s Emergency Education Relief) funds ($5,300) are available for two full years until September 2022. These funds have not been spent yet.
Thompson shared Activities Director John Loney’s report, giving him kudos for all the hard work as schedules changed and changed and changed again. Only parents are allowed to attend volleyball games; all levels of volleyball are being streamed with access available on the school website.
Football games will have 250 ticket wristbands — 170 for the R-P team and 80 for the visiting team. Leftover tickets will be offered to high school students with seniors given first chance. There is the possibility of first come — first serve for community members if there are available tickets. Home varsity games will be streamed. The fans will be required to wear face masks at both home and away games. Board member Bonnie Prinsen applauded AD Loney’ s explanation on why this is required, “If we want our athletes to continue to play their sport they are currently in as well as future activities, we here at R-P are going to go the extra mile to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe. If we have to go to distance learning, our activities will be shut down, which means games and practices cannot take place.”
Superintendent Thompson informed the board that R-P was trying to use YouTube rather than Facebook for streaming games since some people don’t have Facebook. Broadcasting on AcenTek’s local channel was not considered a good choice since many people don’t have access to the channel. Thompson noted that grandparents and family living far away enjoy the opportunity to watch the games via YouTube.
Charles J. Ehler
The board passed a resolution naming the library at the new R-P School Charles J. Ehler Learning Center. In the resolution former superintendent Ehler’s “countless hours to secure the construction of the new state-of-the art school in 2017” were acknowledged. Appropriately, Ehler, who worked as a librarian in his early career, will now have a library bearing his name. Plans are to hopefully officially celebrate the naming at the November board meeting on November 16, 2020.
In other business the board:
•Hired Terry Pelzl and Patty McAllister as long term subs for third grade teachers Jade Olstat and Hannah Pape;
•Learned MSHL had approved the cooperative with Lewiston-Altura for dance;
•Accepted a $829 donation from Johnson’s Rolling Acres for milk for Lille By Preschool;
•Gave “big huge congratulations,” to quote Kathy Wade, to the Honor Society inductees;
•Were reminded that the special meeting to canvass election results will be November 9, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. in the forum room.
The next regular R-P School Board meeting will be November 16, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. in the forum room; the public is welcome to attend.