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September 26, 2021

8/25/2021 2:26:00 PM
Masks optional for 2021-22 says IG school board

Iowa-Grant's board of education got a glimpse at what some of the parents in the district feel about requiring masks when school starts in a few weeks.
Some spoke from prepared statements while some spoke "off the cuff" but they had the same message for the board. That would be do not mandate masks when school starts.
"We need to let our kids grow up," one mother said.
"Kids have been together all summer at various events," another said, citing volleyball in the gym with girls from all over competing against each other.
"The board needs a complete reopening plan," said another.
"Leave it up to the individual families....mask until graduation if that is what you want," was another comment. "But leave it up to us."
Some parents pointed out their young children did not want to go to school if they have to wear a mask.
Oxygen levels are affected when wearing a mask, one parent pointed out.
"It comes down to freedom of choice and it is up to us to make that choice," another speaker added.
Erin Reddy Wolff took a different approach as she spoke about the dangers of the Delta strain and said personal freedom has to be dictated somewhat about the dangers people are facing with the new strain.
"We need to take every measure possible to protect our children and our staff members," she said.
A member of the teaching staff commended the over 50 participants in the meeting. She pointed out that she had a child who spent the entire year virtual last session but that does not exist for the new school year. She was glad to see the year end so she could be without a mask and things in the summer were looking up.
"Now we need to compromise," she said. "We need to come together as a community and have an agreement that whatever way we go we do is as safely as we can for everyone."
Raija Miller thanked the district for the stipend staff received. She also gave her support for Robyn Oberfoell for the position of District Administrator.
"We need a Superintendent and she showed over the last year she has the leadership ability to do this," she said.
"And on the masking....if a heart surgeon can wear a mask which repairing my heart and not pass out for lack of oxygen I think we can do that in school if necessary."
The board adjourned to hold the annual meeting and approved a tax levy for 2021-22 of $2,574,330 along with resolutions for transportation and board compensation.
When they returned they approved a bread bid, the only one received, from Bindl Bakery, the same provider as last year. They reviewed handbooks previously approved and revisited the fees for milk, lunch and extracurriculars.
A fundraiser for the girls softball team that will take place at the Iowa County Fair was approve as was going ahead with concessions for fall sports. Football concessions will be held outside and inside sports will have concessions in the cafeteria.
Then came the discussion on to have a mask mandate or not. Board president Renee Linscheid said ultimately the decision comes down to the board making the decision.
"We heard from a lot of people tonight but we have to make the decision," she reminded the board.
After a report from the school nurse the board discussed masking, contact tracing methods and virtual learning if schools have to shut down again.
It was pointed out that the Iowa County Health Department says the county is in a high contact area concerning the delta virus.
After a brief discussion about to mask or not and an outburst from the audience Linscheid, "The board has to determine the policy and how to mandate it. What we know right now is we will follow the requirement that anyone riding a bus must wear a mask."
One board member said the CDC has guidelines for how much sleep a child should get also guidelines on caffeine.
"I don't drive up and down the street to see if kids are in bed and I don't take away Mountain Dew if I see them consuming it," she said.
"If you are sick, stay home," another member said.
"Come on guys, the state is trying to control us," Fred DiVall said. "We can't let that happen."
Finally a motion by Spurley was made to postpone a decision until the Ad Hoc committee can meet with the motion failing.
A motion to make masks optional for this school year was made by Mary Schauff and approved. An amendment was also approved to make the policy district-wide.
Linscheid also said the Ad Hoc committee will be asked to move forward with recommendations for the full board. Faculty, staff and board members make up the committee.
The board accepted the resignations of a night custodian at IGEMS and from softball coach Deanna Fulton.
After closed session the board came back to open session and approved some hires.
The most pressing one was offering an interim superintendent contract to Robyn Oberfoell who will oversee the district in 2021-22. She was one of the final two candidates for the position, the other being Mark Lierman.
Other approve hires were:
Cook - Wendy Gorius; Cheerleader Advisor - Erin Reddy Wolff; 8th Gr ade Volleyball Coach - Dan Prohaska; 6th Grade Long-Term Sub - Angela Belken; HS Head Boys Basketball Coach - Nolan Krentz; Custodian (2nd shift) - Rick James. Volunteers: High school Cross country: Robin Connely; High school football: Tyler Kennicker.

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