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January 16, 2021

12/28/2020 9:54:00 AM
Barneveld schools starting to gradually get back to class

What it comes down to is a real numbers games.
Barneveld District Administrator Joe Price gave the school board an extensive explanation about the COVID-19 numbers that affect Iowa County, the Barneveld community and the school district. Price explained the numbers at Wednesday's monthly board meeting.
Price, along with other school administrators at Iowa County schools, have been meeting with the Iowa County Health Department and had met with them earlier in the days. He shared the data the county provided and also gave the board some predictions.
"We are seeing a pretty low risk factor before we go into break," Price said. He said vaccination information will be provided soon.
"The burning question is when can we get kids back to school," Price told the board. He then presented a plan to gradually bring children back into the building, starting with the PreK-3 students on the following Monday.  He said the younger ages are the ones having the most problems learning virtually.
Along with getting students back into the building Price notes that it is important that everyone in the community does their part.
"We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel but we need to remember we are all in this together," Price said.
Other students will be asked back on teacher recommendation with others remaining virtual until after winter break. Poor internet connection will be one of the factors with those asked back.
Price also discussed the return to athletics for the Barneveld district. Other districts have been practicing and are starting to play but the Barneveld district had put extra curriculars on hold until now.
Price said Athletic Director Randy Gabel and the coaches have put together guidelines and procedures. He said practices will begin by doing drills and conditioning with full scrimmages coming closer to actual competition. Players will be required to wear masks practicing and playing.
Price introduced CDC guidelines which has moved quarantine time to 10 days down from 14 but the Health Department is asking to stay at 14.
"I think that would be best for all of us to remain at 14," Price said. "We may be taking the conservative approach but it is always best to take the safest route and err on the side of caution."
When asked about truancy issues Principal Erin Eslinger said it will be dealt with.
Price said a hard lined date to have all students return to face to face will depend on the numbers. The target date will be looking at county and local numbers.
Price also said while there will be a day when virtual will no longer be an option it is impossible to determine that yet. He expects virtual to be necessary at least into spring.
"At present we will start bringing students back gradually," Price said. "It will be based on the numbers."
Price added that the fourth and fifth grades will be back as soon as possible.
In a discussion about returning to athletics, Price said by having our students participate here we will have more control over what they do. He said there are other options out there that may not be as safety conscious as the coaches would be here.
It was also pointed out that other extra curriculars can begin meeting also but right now they are virtual.
It was also pointed out that outside organizations will not be authorized to use the facilities.
Other Business
Price told the board he will have a draft of the Employee Handbook in the board's hands before break. He said he has been working with legal counsel to finish the fine tuning.
The board approved a request for early graduation. It was noted that there are eight pending approved requests but some may decide not to graduate early if there are winter and spring athletics. Eslinger said they will be making their decision prior to break....
(See the rest of the story in the December 17, 2020 Chronicle issue)

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