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September 26, 2021

8/3/2021 3:17:00 PM
Highland board sets public comment rules, looks at masking

District residents wanting to provide public comment to the Highland School Board will have to attend the scheduled meetings in the future the school board learned last Wednesday.
Future meetings will be broadcast to the public via YouTube instead of Zoom so public comment will not be possible. Those wanting to address the board should contact the district office prior to the meeting.
The board reviewed the handbooks for students, activities and coaches. Changes were pointed out and discussed prior to approval by the board.
Cell phones and having them in school was discussed at length during the presentation. It was pointed out any misuse will result in penalties including loss of privileges.
Also during discussion the board learned the WIAA has not determined what the protocol will be for masking for athletes. Principal Josh Tarrell said there will still be a requirement for masks on buses.
The board voted to keep student, athletic and lunch fees the same. Superintendent Bryce Bird indicated lunch fees will likely increase next year.
The board voted to accept the 2021-22 academic standards which is an annual requirement.
Bird told the board there is over $270,000 unspent that can be designated between Fund 46 and Fund 10. He said there are various areas where it can be used. He asked the board to approve transfers to bring negative accounts back to zero. The board then designated $220,000 to Fund 46.
Open enrollment for the district show one in and two leaving the district.
Reopening plans were discussed. Bird said area administrators feel a marker should be in effect if total masking is needed. He said the other way to do it is have the administration put out a plan.
Bird said masking has been under discussion for quite some time. He said hand washing and other recommendations will be continued.
Vaccinations vs unvaccinated also must be considered, Bird added.
Tarrell also added there will be constant contact with the Iowa County Health Department as decisions are made.
The board authorized the adminstration to allow mask optional and continue to monitor the situation moving forward. The thought is to make it as comfortable as possible with the students and leave masking up to the district families.
Tarrell also said there is no universal policy throughout the districtss in the conference. He said he appreciates having giving the flexibility to deal with the options locally.
The school nurse will also be a resource moving forward.
As for a virtual option, teachers in the district will be teaching in the classroom and virtual options will be offered through a sererate source.
"I don't want us to make virtual so attractive that kids want to stay home," Bird said. "They are better served in our building."
Bird discussed the cost and how state aid would be affected.
The board agreed they want some form of virtual option for those choosing that method of delivery.
Tarrell said a catch is having a student virtual for much of the semester then wanting to come in for face to face.
Quarantine was discussed and Tarrell note the length is now 10 days, down from 14. He said he will make sure that is fine with Iowa County Health.
The board discussed senior picture display options and decided will consider a plan from Brad Tucker, IT director, on how to present the display going forward. The board authorized $5000 to complete the project.
The Cardinal Club was discussed and received approval from the board. The Club was inactive last year due to covid.
Advertising for livestream sports streaming was discussed and the board approved proceeding with the plan for the 2021-22 school year. Tucker said it can work but an additional person would be needed to make it work. He feels there are students who could be involved. He gave examples of how advertising packages could work.
The board authorized Tucker to explore the options.
After closed session the board approved Andrew Wolfe as assistant boys basketball coach, Lilly Tucker as middle school assistant volleyball coach and will continue to search for a JV/assistant volleyball coach.
Also Ashley Halverson will assume the advisor position for Grade 10 with Grade 9 still open.
The board accepted a resignation from Spanish Teacher Jessica Weber and thanked her for her nine years. They approved Jacqueline Johnson as the new Spanish teacher.
The board also approved two aide applications and will advertise for the custodian position.

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