Mid-Prairie Community School District
Kalona, Wellman, West Chester
Mid-Prairie Central Office Community Room, Wellman, IA 52356
August 3, 2020 – 7:00 p.m.
President Marianne Schlabach called the meeting to order.
Board members present Mary Allred, Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jeremy Gugel, Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard, and Marianne Schlabach.
Board members absent: None.
Staff Present: Superintendent Mark Schneider, Business Manager/Board Secretary Jeff Swartzentruber.
Approximately 145 to 150 people attended comprised of Parents, Administrators, Teachers, Staff, Media, and other members of the public.
Jodi Meader moved to adopt the agenda as presented. Seconded by Gabrielle Frederick. Motion carried 7-0.
President Schlabach opened the meeting for public comment related to the Start of School Plan ideas and recommendations at 7:01 p.m. and turned the meeting over to Vice President Jeremy Pickard to conduct the Public Forum. Pickard noted the ground rules, including the desire to keep the forum to about an hour and asked that people who speak address the School Board and not other speakers within the Public Form. Speakers included: Staff, Parents, Business Owners/Leaders, Students, and Healthcare Workers (some of the speakers are more than one of the previous categories). Topics included: face coverings, physical distancing, risks to staff, risks to students, quality of education provided in the buildings versus virtually, the needs of special education students, statements read by a number of groups, pros and cons of the Hybrid 50% Return to Learn Plan and the 100% Return to Learn Plan, concerns for protection of students and faculty and staff with high-risk health issues, a plea for parent positivity with the children no matter what the decision, what are the consequences for students and staff who do not follow the rules for face coverings, optional versus mandatory face coverings, mental and social health struggles of students, recognition of the state of the US is that we are operating in a pandemic, recognition of the varied strong opinions held in the district, appreciation and recognition for the Teachers, Staff and Administrators within the Mid-Prairie District, and recognition that school this year will NOT be normal.
President Schlabach closed the Public Forum at 8:17 p.m. and thanked the 20 or so people who expressed their views to the Board.
Start of School
President Schlabach led the Board in continued discussion for the Start of School Plan for 2020-2021 School Year and asked each School Board Member to make a statement. School Board members each made statements about the decisions to be made. The options were again named by Board Members during their statements. They expressed appreciation for the many emails and discussions that came to them in the past couple of weeks. Finally, it was noted that two motions were needed, one for the start of school and one for the use of face coverings.
Jeremy Pickard moved to approve a Return to Learn Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year 5 days per week 100% face to face in buildings with options for Home School Assistance Program, and Virtual Academy, further that there is a focus on maximizing social distancing for students and a 6 foot distance for teachers. Mary Allred seconded the motion. Motion carried 7-0.
Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve the wearing of face coverings as a requirement for the beginning of the 2020-2021 School Year for all students Prekindergarten to Grade 12 and all staff members with this decision to be re-evaluated at the September 28, 2020, School Board meeting. Denise Chittick seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-3. School Board members dissenting: Mary Allred, Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard.
Location and Time of Future Meetings
The next regularly scheduled Board meeting will then be on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. with location most likely at the Central Office in the Community Room.
The meeting adjourned at 9:29 p.m.