11/8/2020 10:02:00 AM Northland School Board: COVID-19 issues dominate meeting
By Kyndra Johnson of the Press-Citizen
COVID-19 cases and staffing issues were the hot topics discussed at the regular scheduled school board meeting held Thurs., Nov. 5 at Northland High School. Assistant Principal Jon Payne shared with the board that with the two recent positive cases in the school, the staff had done an excellent job of increasing spacing in classrooms to limit the number of students and staff having to be sent home. Even with this reduction currently the school has ten support staff and four teachers out due to COVID-19, whether it being having symptoms themselves or due to contact tracing. It was noted that many other schools around our district are having the same problem and they have had to resort to distance learning. Payne stated that administrators are doing everything possible to keep students in the in-person learning model, but may be forced into another model again due to staffing issues.
Superintendent Pat Rendle shared with the board information regarding the recent executive order signed by Gov. Tim Walz, which made technical adjustments to the Safe Learning Plan. Rendle mentioned when looking through the executive order, most of the adjustments made the district was already doing. By offering extended child care to essential workers, by giving teachers extra prep time every day and offering other special education services to students in need.
Principal Mary Yakibchuk reported to the board that the end of the first quarter was Fri., Nov. 6 and that the teachers celebrate everyday that they have been able to teach students in-person. Yakibchuk also stated that she sent out surveys to the staff for feedback on how things are going so far this year and she plans on sending out surveys to students next and possibly even parents and the community. It was also mentioned that parents are going to be given the option of attending conferences virtually to accommodate and respect those that have chosen distance learning.
In other Board action:
Approved the hire of Abriel Tellstrom as cook, with a start date of Oct. 14; Melissa Pilkenton as paraprofessional, with a start date of Oct. 28 and Andrea Campbell-Launert as kitchen helper, with a start date of Nov. 3.
Set a special meeting on Nov. 13 at 3:30 p.m. to canvass the votes from the School Board election held Nov. 3.
The board has scheduled the following meetings: AWAIR committee meeting, Wed., Nov. 11 at 8 a.m., a work session, Thurs., Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m., the Truth in Taxation Meeting, Mon., Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. and the regular meeting, Thurs., Dec. 3, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. all meetings are held at Northland High School.