Goessel School Board sets COVID protocol

The Goessel school board met on August 9 and discussed Covid-19 protocol for the beginning of school. The board heard comments and expressed their own concerns for the coming school year. Junior high/high school principal Scott Boden expressed appreciation for the task force that developed recommendations for Covid-19 precautions for returning to school. Superintendent/elementary principal Mark Crawford commented, “People care about this district.”

Crawford reviewed COVID-19 precautions the school had taken last school year. He commended the board for the ionizers they had purchased with Covid-19 money. The school received CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Fund money last school year and used $41,000 of that money for ionizers. “That was a wise thing to do,” Crawford said. He mentioned other precautions, such as social distancing, ventilation, masks, hand washing, surface cleaning, testing, quarantine, and vaccination. The board heard how testing could reduce quarantine time.

Crawford cautioned the board that “we don’t know as much as we need to know about long Covid,” referring to long-term effects of Covid-19. Board members expressed concern for students, especially younger ones who are too young to be vaccinated.

The board spent some time discussing masks and heard that schools that receive federal money are required by law to require masks on school buses.

The board reviewed the results of a recent school district survey. It was noted that a significant number of parents do not favor masks. But it was also noted that a significant number of parents do favor masks. And a number of parents had mentioned to board members that it would be easier to start the school year with masks rather than to add them later. A board member felt like Covid-19 is not much of a threat to children, but another said that Covid-19 in kids is rising. The board voted to require masks for the beginning of the school year, for all students and staff.

In other business, the board noted supplemental appointments for the 2021-2022 school year, as follows — Activities Director: Brian Lightner, Concessions: Ryan Hoopes, Band: Scott Taylor, Choir: Braden Unruh, Cheerleading: Michelle Meyer, Elementary SIT (Student Intervention Team) Chair: Sheri Janzen, SIT secretary: Chrystiana Miller, Junior High SIT Chair: Megan Duerksen, High school SIT Chair: Crysta Guhr, Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) sponsor: Brittany Hiebert, FFA sponsor: Alicia Cox, High School Play: Carol Duerksen, Play Assistants: D J Freeman and Doris Unruh, Junior High Quiz Bowl: Sherri Sells, High School Scholar’s Bowl: Braden Unruh (head) and Marcia Brubaker (assistant), Junior High Student Council: Megan Duerksen, High School Student Council: Harmony Gerlach, Freshman Class Sponsor: Alicia Cox, Sophomore Sponsor: Donna O’Neill, Junior Sponsor: Harmony Gerlach and Chad Lindeman, Senior Sponsor: Janna Duerksen, Professional Development: Janna Duerksen, Quality Performance Assessment: Janna Duerksen, Yearbook: Kacie Schmidt.

Sports appointments include Junior High Football: Chad Lindeman (head) and Ryan Hoopes (assistant), High School Football: Garrett Hiebert (head) and Luke Freeman and Rick Freeman (assistants), High School Cross Country: Brian Lightner (head) and Donna Washmon (assistant), Junior High Volleyball: Julie Sparks (head) and Brittany Hiebert (assistant), High School Volleyball: Crysta Guhr (head) and Page Hiebert (assistant), Junior High Boys Basketball: Garrett Hiebert (head) and Kendall Voth (assistant), High School Boys Basketball: Curtis Guhr (head) and Chad Lindeman (assistant), Junior High Girls Basketball: Tom Zogleman (head) and Amy Flaming (assistant), High School Girls Basketball: Ryan Hoopes (head) and Olivia Duerksen (assistant), Golf: Chad Lindeman, Junior High/High School Track: Curtis Guhr (head), Garrett Hiebert (lead Junior High), Crysta Guhr, Joni Smith, Brian Lightner, and Amy Flaming (track assistants).

In other business, the board:

* heard that August 19 would be the first day of school.

* heard from Boden that student numbers at the junior high/high school are comparable to last year, three fewer students. Enrollment numbers are as follows — 6th grade: 15, 7th grade: 25, 8th grade: 24, freshmen: 23, sophomores: 23, juniors: 24, and seniors: 37, with a total of 171 for grades 6-12.

* approved Rick Freeman as second assistant high school football coach and Olivia Duerksen as assistant high school girls basketball coach.

* heard that custodial employees had been busy painting, cleaning. waxing floors, landscaping, and working on plumbing and electrical projects. Boden commended them for their work.

* approved the month’s bills of $101,556.28.

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