District prepares for school year

CRESCO - Howard-Winneshiek Supt. Ted Ihns went over the Return to Learn plan with school board members at the Aug. 17 regular meeting.
The plan was described in detail in the Aug. 5 and 12 issues of the Times Plain Dealer. Some of the highlights of his presentation included explaining the safety precautions being taken for staff and students.
He said the district is strongly recommending the wearing of face coverings. “There are strong feelings on both sides of the fence. We do not want the staff to be the mask police. I will say that my son will wear a mask to school.”
The district will provide one “Go Cadets” or “Go Crestwood” mask to each student.
Parents are to take a student’s temperature before they leave home. The school is not taking temperatures at the door. 
One question asked is why not do the temperature at the door instead of at home? He said, if the student has a temperature before they leave home, they will be able to stay home, instead of possibly exposing others while going to school.
For lunch, no classes at this time will be having lunch in their rooms. They will expand the lunch schedule. There are 130 seats in the high school. 
For PK-8 the lunch area will be expanded into the wrestling room. That will leave 125 eating in the cafeteria and 40 in the wrestling room.
Recesses will also be staggered, with play equipment being sanitized every day.
The district has already removed as much cloth furniture as it could. “Classrooms will look more like the 1970-80s. Desks will all be facing forward,” Ihns explained.
Face coverings are required on buses. There is also hand sanitizer to be used when entering the bus.
For parents or guardians picking up or dropping off a student, they are to stay in their vehicle.
Students will be taking their digital device home every day. It is hard to say if, all of a sudden, face-to-face classes will be cancelled, such as happened in March. This way, students will be able to have their devices with them if that takes place.
Choir and band may look different due to COVID-19. Principal Chris Rogne noted Mrs. LeFebvre was right on top of how to make choir safe. At this time, there will be a 30-minute maximum time of singing.
• There were about 60 students who took information on doing online work. There was not a set number for the students who will be studying from home.
• Ihns reported the 10 new staff members took a tour around the county to the outlying towns as is traditional. “It takes about two hours. They like to see where our students come from.”
• Masks, dividers, sanitizer and more associated with COVID-19 was covered by CARES, FEMA or donated to the school.
• For sports, the superintendent admitted, “We are excited, optimistic, anxious and cautious about having sports. We know there will be changes. If we go to online learning, there will be no extracurricular activities.”
• The activities fund was reimbursed $4,097.77 from the general fund, which is an annual transaction. There was $50,000-55,000 left in the fund.
• The board approved Pan-O-Gold and AE Dairy for bread and milk vendors for the year.
• Student enrollment agreements were approved for LeRoy-Ostrander and Fillmore Central Schools, allowing students to enroll in or out.
• The board approved the Edmentum Calvert Learning On-Line Platform for 20 students, which is a special curriculum for on-line learners. The cost is $2,700 for elementary students and $2,200 for secondary.
New elementary principal Doug Sickles stated, “We had four students who were going to be home-schooled. We talked to them about this option. Now they are our students.” Howard-Winneshiek will get credit for them attending school.
• The district has purchased 70 “hot spots” from Verizon. Students will be able to check them out so they can use the Internet with their devices. The cost is $11,000 for six months. Ihns said, “Harold [Jensen] and Heather [Klenke] did a really good job of reaching out to companies and found the best one.”
The equipment allows unlimited date and can be used on a bus. It can only be used with district devices.
• Silvia Merritt spoke during open forum, representing Kelli Gosch and in support of Mallory Gosch.
She wanted to remind the board members to continue making policies for defining a good policy for discipline when students have bullied another; define a policy for bullying; and define a policy to teach diversity to teachers and students.
The next school board meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 21.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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