USD 410 discuss rising COVID-19 numbers

Three incoming members of the USD 410 Board of Education took the oath of office at the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 10. Scott Winter, Sara Wichert and Jessey Hiebert were elected in November, filling the vacated positions of outgoing members Joe Sechrist, Mark Rooker and Kim Klein. Sechrist, Rooker and Klein will be recognized for their service at the March board meeting.

Following the oath of office, Jared Jost was nominated by member Rod Koons and seconded by Hiebert for the position of board president for the 2022 calendar year; the board unanimously approved the nomination. Koons, nominated by Hiebert and seconded by Tim Kaufman, was unanimously approved as vice president for 2022.

Appointment of board officers for 2022 is as follows: Jost, Marion County Special Education Cooperative representative and Kansas Association of School Boards governmental relations representative; Wichert, MCSEC alternate representative and professional development representative; Hiebert, Technology Excellence in Education Network representative; Kaufman as TEEN alternate representative; Koons as chief negotiator; Jim Paulus (attending the meeting virtually) as assistant negotiator; and Winter as the USD 410 technology committee representative.

COVID-19 update

As an agenda addition, the board heard from superintendent Max Heinrichs that the middle school/high school building had reached a 6.35 percent COVID-19 positivity rate as of that afternoon. The USD 410 gating guidelines say that when a building reaches 6 to 9.99 percent positivity, the board will meet to determine the next steps. Heinrichs recommended the board issue a “strong recommendation” that masks be worn in the HMHS building until the end of school on Jan. 14.

After some discussion, the board decided against Heinrichs’ recommendation of a “strong recommendation”, opting to send a district-wide communication outlining the current positivity rates, and notifying patrons that if the rate rises above 10 percent, masks will be mandated for eight days after rising over the threshold, as per the gating guidelines.

As of Jan. 13, the 10 percent threshold was met at HMHS; on the same day, HES was at 7.05 percent.

In other business, the board:

n accepted donations from CKCF Hillsboro Community Foundation for the USD 410 children’s dental program; Land O’Lakes, Inc., for HES west playground maintenance; BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas Foundation for HMHS Healthy Habits for Life Grant; First Baptist Church – Kings Daughters for preschool Christmas project; LifeTouch Nation School Studios for HES Site Council Fund.

n voted to approve a $1.00 per hour pay raise for Jordan Riggs and Austin Welch after they each earned their CDLs, as per the original hiring agreements.

n voted to approve bill payment of $409,772.83.

n met in two separate executive sessions, one for personnel wages, and one for personnel related to the superintendent search.

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