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October 24, 2021

9/28/2021 1:29:00 PM
Barneveld School Board continues discussion on face coverings
While the face covering policy wasn't the first item on the agenda, it was perhaps the agenda item that was discussed the most at Wednesday night's Barneveld Board of education meeting.
District Superintendent Joe Price informed board members of Iowa County's latest dashboard update, which showed that positive cases reported remained steady.
He also showed a projection data table that showed three different scenarios: a current projection, a worse case scenario projection, and a projection showing what it could be like with keeping a mask mandate.
Price also showed a U.S. table showing the number of COVID-19 cases in children. That table shows that positive children's cases went from 203,962 to 251,781.
"We are seeing an upward trend everywhere, not just in Iowa County," Price said.
District Nurse Chelsea Olday informed board members that a student tested positive, however it was a student that did not physically attend the school. She also noted that she disagreed with the way things were trending. As of Tuesday night, there were a handful of students who tested and were positive from multiple Iowa County schools. She also mentioned the norovirus is also happening, making masks somewhat helpful.
"On average I am sending two children home for COVID and there's at least four sent home for GI issues," Olday said.
Olday plans to send home a COVID screening checklists to families, notifying what to do next. She is also planning to send home consent forms. At this time the district is doing the PCR tests.
Olday recommended that the district continue to mask for the next month.
Rhonda Mullin asked at what point will the Iowa County Health Department continue recommending universal masking, or when Iowa County hits the "low" risk status if they are recommending categories with higher risk of transmission, or are unvaccinated.
Board member Nick Meyer said this past spring Iowa County sent out an email stating that a 90% vaccination rate for the Iowa County population including children four and up would be when the department would stop recommending universal masking.
Olday stated that December is the earliest that children 12 and under could receive a vaccination. Mullin added that the FDA initially wanted two months, however has changed it to four to six months in order to review more data. It is projected that the earliest vaccination date for children could be for December.
Brad Zander stated his concern about having the discussion every month.
"I don't see any of this changing for decades," Zander said. "We can keep talking about it every month, but I don't think anyone's minds are going to be changed."
Iowa County is following the CDC recommendations, and has also pushed data for flu based on masking.
"We're not trying to stop the flu," Meyer said. "I'm sure it's convenient but that's not why we're wearing these.
"I'll have to disagree with you Brad," board member Tadd Owens said. "My opinion on August 11 was different than it was in June of this summer. I'm hoping for the vaccine for the kids, but in order to come back from the other side we have to keep talking about it.
I'm not willing to say we're going to mask all year if numbers come down."
"I think we need to give the public a fair shot, we have to," Board member Denise Douglas said. "We're kind of divided on it. If we say we're not going to talk about it, they're going to think we're overlooking it. To be fair we have to look at it from both angles."
Meyer asked if the board was willing to go against the Iowa County Health Department before the department stops recommending universal masking.
"The email that they sent me says 90% vaccination rate, which will never happen," Meyer said. "If that's where they're at, they are going to keep recommending masks forever."
Mullin added that the state mandates COVID-19 vaccinations as part of a child's required vaccinations, although not this year.
The board agreed to continue monthly discussions and to maintain a mask mandate for the district. Olday and Price will be looking at possible metrics, while adhering to Iowa County's recommendations. Board members voted that students advisors and coaches follow protocols of other schools on the day/night of a competition. In other words: if a district requires no mask, students advisors and coaches may choose the same. However spectators are required to wear masks.
In other school board business:
-Board members voted to have school board meetings take place the second Wednesday each month, moving them to 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.
-Board members discussed the district restraint and seclusion report. For the 2020-2021 year there were three incidents of seclusion and one incident of restraint.
-Board members approved a quote for repairing an air repair handler for the Lower Barneveld school gym.

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