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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Suring Students Begin 2020-2021 School Year

Issue Date: September 2, 2020

Half of the students of the Suring School District, Cohort A, were back in their classrooms on Tuesday, Sept. 1, while the other half, Cohort B, were starting their at-home distance learning. Students in Cohort B will be back in their classrooms for two days each week starting on Thursday, Sept. 3.

That back-to-school format was approved by the Suring Board of Education at a special meeting on Wednesday, August 19. As an action item at that meeting the Board approved the School COVID Matrix to be followed once students return to school after it was explained that movement on the matrix could go either way depending on where the district stood with positive COVID cases.

Back to School Plan B was approved. Plan B includes a blend of both in person learning at school and digital learning at home. Students were separated into Cohort A or Cohort B. Cohort A involves in class on Mondays and Tuesdays and distant learning each week, Wednesday through Friday. Cohort B involves distance learning Monday through Wednesday and in-class learning on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Back to School plan was discussed in detail prior to the vote. During discussion Superintendent Kelly Casper stated the county is recommending the district look at cohorts. She said the public health nurse is concerned with bringing everyone back so fast and felt it would be easier to fix if something was missed if only half the school was present versus the whole school.

Principal Pamela Berg informed the board of safety measures that would be implemented to bring students and staff back into the building. Some of the changes include sanitizing stations & wipes at entrances, classroom disinfecting, minimizing lunch groups and recess rotation, closed campus, movement throughout the building, locker assignments and use, no sharing of objects or school supply items, use of outside classrooms for art/PE /Band/Choir, transportation and student drop off locations, and mask use and storage.

Mrs. Berg also explained that parents will be expected to self-check their students at home, making sure they are healthy to be in the building. Magnets have been ordered for families, providing them with a visual checklist they need to review each day prior to sending their children to school. Visitors will be limited to essential only and extra-curricular activities will follow WIAA guidelines.

At its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 12 the board approved was Back to School Plan for 2020-21 and 2020-21 Fall Athletics following WIAA guidelines.

The school census shows there are 545 children ages birth through 20 living in the district, which is slightly less than last year.

Other action items for the board included approving the July 8, 2020 meeting minutes, July financial report and bills, accepting the resignation of Anna Ackley as Library paraprofessional, and hiring Desiree Frank as After School Coordinator and Dan Huth as Assistant Volleyball Coach.

The board also approved the changes as presented in the Coaches/Advisors handbook, Support Staff handbook, Teacher handbook and Administration handbook.

Bids accepted included the milk bid from Dean's Foods of Wisconsin/Rank Distributing and the snow plowing/removal bid from Michael Gardebrecht for the 2020-21 school year.

District and Board goals will be approved at a later date along with approval of the School Emergency Response Plan binder.

Greg Jaeger, head of building and grounds, updated the board on the status of the summer projects that included Science room floors and cabinetry installation, new carpet in two classrooms, High School gym floor refinished and purchase of sanitizing wipes/disinfectant and hand sanitizer for the start of school. Jaeger shared the outcome of his review with Oconto County Health regarding chemicals used to clean the facility.

Projects still on the list include electrical and plumbing in the science rooms, hallway flooring, painting locker room, installation of lockers in the locker room, exterior painting, competitive bids on cafeteria tables, finishing cubby partitions, High School gym mascot and logos and athletic field set up for football.

Mrs. Berg's written report included details as presented to the certified staff in an optional all staff meeting. In the report, face coverings were discussed. Mrs. Berg presented to the board parent concerns, teacher concerns and administrative concerns.

In addition, the report enumerated logistical plans for social distancing, division into cohorts, dealing with absences, cleanliness of the building, and other items. The report further laid out plans for dividing lunch and recess into groups for all students as well as plans for traffic patterns. Berg will share the aforementioned slideshow with board members via email. 

Mrs. Casper informed the board that a formal graduation took place on Saturday, August 8. Cathy Lundgren stated that this was the most memorable graduation in Suring history.

A thank you note was shared from one of the collegiate athletes that was allowed to use the building during school closure. Also a big thank you was extended to those who have been donating their time to make masks for the school. Title IX was discussed. The new board policy and implementation for Title IX were to be reviewed at an upcoming committee meeting.

The next monthly board meeting will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the small gym.

All official school board publications, including school board meeting agendas and minutes, can be found on the school website www.suring.k12.wi.us.


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