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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Lena School Board Hears Plans For The Fall Sports

Issue Date: September 16, 2020

Agenda for the Lena School Board meeting on Monday, Sept.14 consisted of numerous reports and approvals, specifically an athletic report, a homecoming update, approval of coaching contracts, and more.

One of these reports was given by Ben Pytleski, the school's Superintendent and Elementary Principal, who proceeded to announce the main points in the bill approval. He highlighted the Einstein Project - an education program for elementary students, school renovations like the air conditioner and boiler, The Bug Blaster - there were bees in the cafeteria, but no longer, new exterior doors, and reimbursements to parents of children unable to go to Orlando last year. In all, $29,138.65 was paid to a multitude of vendors, all with the intent to make this school year a success.

One of the biggest questions on everyone's mind is whether or not each school is choosing to allow their athletes to compete. Lena's athletes are having productive practices. The volleyball team had it's first match on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The Cross Country teams have competed in two meets thus far. Due to Covid-19, varsity and junior high cross country teams had to be cut in half, but the team is performing fairly well. The football team will have it's first game at the end of September because they need more time to adjust to tackling while wearing masks. The participation numbers have hardly been affected; there are 22 football players, 27 volleyball athletes, and 19 cross country runners.

Athletes will perform self-screening for a temperature and symptoms before practices. In terms of fan attendance, each athlete will be allowed to have two people attend their game. Football players will be permitted four individuals since events will be held outdoors. The athletes will be given special tickets to be used throughout the season and it's their choice who they invite. Because of this ticket requirement, there will be no admission cost. There will also be no concession stand for the health and safety of the volunteers. Social distancing will be encouraged for all attendees. The Board discussed possibly allowing the Lena student body to attend sports games, but that will be decided at a later date.

Next on the agenda was approval of three coaching contracts. Tyson Marquardt was approved to be a volunteer High School Football coach. Shane Behnke was approved to be a volunteer Junior High Football coach. Autumn Magee was approved to coach cheerleading.

The Board approved a Para-Professional contract for Sarah Weidner. She will be offered a full-time special-ed aide position.

The school received one snow removal bid for Duame Sand and Gravel, which they accepted. The Lena school district has always been happy with Duame Sand and Gravel, so they were content with choosing them.

To many high schoolers' disappointment, there will be no homecoming dance this year. The Board approved homecoming activities, like Powderpuff and Wacky Olympics, but agreed there is no responsible way to have a dance right now. Pytleski said that a few parents have reached out about putting it on the calendar, but he simply cannot promise anything considering how uncertain Covid-19 has made things. Dress up days will continue as usual and the Board is looking forward to seeing how masks might be tied into the outfits this year. There will still be float-building and a parade. Overall, the main difference for homecoming is the fact that there will be no dance.

The Parent Transportation Contracts were approved. The Lena school district must provide transportation for students within a certain mile radius, even if those students don't go to the school. The Board approved the contract for one family, whose children attend Faith Christian School.

One student requested to take a medical terminology class with NWTC through the College Now program. Her request was approved.

High/Middle School Principal James Torzala, reported that the first two weeks of school have been running smoothly. The few kids who are learning virtually have had "a few hiccups," but the staff and students are figuring everything out. To accommodate these students, the school has ordered cameras to enhance the learning process. Since cameras are in high demand right now, they won't arrive until late October. In-person students receive mask breaks throughout the day, where they are allowed to go outside for a few minutes and breathe without obstruction. Overall, the health protocols seem to be working and the school has been fortunate to not see an outbreak within its walls.

Ben Pytleski gave his report next. He mentioned that the SSO - seamless summer option - will reimburse all meals through December. One of the big concerns with this was that Denise Jagiello-Diehlmann, the head cook, would not have enough fridge space to feed all the students. Pytleski has found that lunch numbers have remained fairly similar to past years; students who have always brought cold lunches continue to bring their own lunch. During lunch, kids and grade levels have been adequately spaced and separated for the safety of each student. Pytleski said that when the mask mandate ends, Lena students will continue to wear masks, especially in high-traffic areas.

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 on Monday, October 5.


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