Goessel School Board appreciates donations

The Goessel school board met on August 10 and accepted a donation of $1,200 from the Goessel Ministerial Alliance for school supplies for students. The board also accepted a donation of 100 sanitized mask bands from Jaynette Miller. The board expressed appreciation for both donations.

Turning their attention to another matter, the board discussed guidelines for the new school year. The nearly four-hour meeting included discussion about coronavirus precautions according to national, state, and county recommendations.

Superintendent Amanda Lowrance told the board about SPARK (Strengthening People And Revitalizing Kansas) money to be used for coronavirus expenses. Marion County received 2.3 million dollars in SPARK money and designated $123,424 of that amount for Goessel school. Lowrance said she had asked questions of the county about SPARK money, wondering where the rest of the money is going. But she had not received answers and does not know how the county is designating the rest of its money. Board member Pat Flaming had also asked questions of county commissioners. He noted that the money has to be spent by December 31.

Lowrance had researched ionizers, and the board approved the purchase of an ionizer for every air handling unit at both school buildings. SPARK money will pay for the ionizers, at a total cost of $41,227. The ionizers will help clean the air and will help with COVID-19, mold, and allergens. The school has a total of 50 air handling units. Lowrance had found that other school districts are using ionizers, and Flaming found evidence that they do reduce health risks. He also noted that ionizers qualify for SPARK money, which has rigid guidelines. Vice president Ben Schrag noted the life span of ionizers, the low cost per year, and the health benefits beyond COVID-19. He commended Lowrance for her efforts.

The board discussed guidelines for reopening the school. Lowrance said the school “tried to take everything into consideration.” A task force had worked on the reopening plan. The first day of school will be September 2. Schrag noted that the school is giving families a choice for remote learning or in-person learning, and requirements for each option were noted. Computers are available for check-out for those students who need one.

Junior high/high school principal Scott Boden said the consensus at the high school is to allow remote learners to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Health precautions were discussed. A 23-page document was developed to detail the precautions.

The school’s document outlines bus precautions, such as the mask requirement, sanitizing, assigned seats, and the procedure for loading the busses.

At school, an infrared contactless thermometer will be used as students and staff enter the buildings. Everyone will wear a mask. Seating areas will be arranged to maximize space between students. Plexiglass or partitions will be used in some situations. Hand sanitizer will be available at building entrances and in every classroom. Everyone will be expected to sanitize hands when they enter and exit classrooms. The classrooms will be sanitized daily. Library books will have a three-day quarantine before being reshelved.

The lunchroom procedure is outlined in the document. Music and physical education classes might be outside as weather permits. Teachers will follow Kansas State High School Activities Association recommendations for such classes as they become available.

All visitors will need an appointment in order to enter a school building, and their temperature will be checked. They will need to wear a mask.

Teachers will make a recorded video introduction to their classrooms, instead of the usual in-person “open house” like previous years.

The board approved the reopening plan. The entire document can be obtained upon request.

In other business, the board:

* discussed sports with Athletic Director Brian Lightner. He mentioned the league and said the schools in the league have worked together very well in the past. Schrag asked about limits on attendance at sports events due to the coronavirus. Lightner said that will be determined on a county-level or by league agreement.

* accepted the resignation of Martin Tibbits as school bus driver. Tibbits will be teaching at Kingman.

* approved Ron Plenert as school bus driver.

* accepted the resignation of Laura Unrau as preschool teacher.

* approved Luke Freeman as an assistant for football.

* approved creation of a school nurse position.

* heard that Boden had repaired 80 Chromebooks for student use.

* heard that Ben Schmidt, Tony Girard, and Susie Shipp have been painting, waxing floors, and landscaping at the junior/senior high school building. Plumbing and electrical work have also been done, as well as hail damage repair on the roofs.

* heard that projected numbers show 25 students in 6th grade for the new school year, 24 in 7th grade, 22 8th graders, 23 freshmen, 21 sophomores, 37 juniors, and 23 seniors, for a 6-12 total of 175 students at the junior high/high school building.

* listened to the audit report from Vonda Brecheisen of Knudsen Monroe. She commended board clerk Joni Smith: “Joni does a great job. You have really good staff in the office.” Brecheisen said it was a “clean audit” with no violations. Schrag commended Smith for her work and expressed appreciation to Brecheisen for the audit report.

* passed the budget for the 2020-2021 school year, a total of $2,873,444.

* approved the month’s financial statements in the amount of $$72,931.88.

More from Cynthia Goerzen
Goessel City Council discusses its Main Street
The Goessel city council met on September 21 and talked with Brian...
Read More