The first Northland School Board meeting of the year was held on Monday, January 4 at 5:30 p.m. and began with the swearing in of the new board members Terri Nystrom and Seth Robison. The board then nominated and elected Marc Ruyak as the Board Chair. Other officer nominations were Bill Wake, Vice Chair; Linda Knox, Clerk and Tyler Seifert, Treasurer.
The next item on the agenda was to set the regular meeting dates and times. There was some discussion on this to find a time that would accommodate all the board members. It was noted that it has been a challenge with having them on the first Thursday of the month in trying to get financial statements and information gathered. Therefore, the board decided to schedule these meetings the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. with the exception of the October meeting which will be held Thursday, October 28 at 5:30 p.m. The board also scheduled four work sessions for the year, which will be held on the first Thursday of February, May, August and November at 5:30 p.m. All meetings will be held at Northland High School.
Committee assignments for board members were approved and are posted on the district website, www.isd118.k12.mn.us. Board expense reimbursements were approved with everything remaining the same and the mileage rates to coincide with federal rates. Also, the board designated the Pine Cone Press-Citizen as the district's official newspaper.
Ruyak brought attention to an email received from Superintendent Pat Rendle regarding updates to the SAFE Learning Plan. Rendle stated that the changes included clarification on the mask policy reguarding face shield usage along with loosening up on a few other restrictions. It was also noted that staff will be tested every two weeks.
Another topic Ruyak discussed was the new face mask restrictions that are being placed on students participating in extracurricular sports and physical education classes. The state is requiring all students that participate in either of the above must wear a mask at all times. It was felt that elementary students should not be required to wear masks during these times. One reasoning is because at that age it may be unknown if a student may have underlying health issues and wearing a mask may aggravate the issue. Rendle stated that unfortunately this is a state mandate and the school cannot go against those rules. It is the job of the coaches and the teachers to keep an eye on students and judge any health issues that may arise. Ruyak stated that he trusted Rendle in that he has been advocating for the district in all aspects of state mandates.
In other business, the board:
Approved Trap Shooting as a school activity, with Athletic Director Max Torgerson exploring fundraising opportunities.
Approved the hire of Stacey Wake as Junior High Girls Basketball Coach for 2020-21 season; Ray Dauphinais as Junior High Girls Basketball Coach for 2020-21 season and Cameron Wake as Junior High Boys Basketball Coach for 2020-21 season.
Approved the second reading of the revised District Policy on Indian Policies and Procedures Regarding Students Residing on Indian Lands.
The board's next regular meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at Northland High School in Remer.