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October 12, 2020

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

Mid-Prairie High School Gymnasium, Wellman, IA  52356

October 12, 2020 – 7:00 p.m.


President Marianne Schlabach called the meeting to order.

Board members present:   Mary Allred, Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jeremy Gugel, Jeremy Pickard, and Marianne Schlabach.

Board members absent:  Jodi Meader.

Also Present:  Mark Schneider, Jeff Swartzentruber, Robin Foster, Rachel Kerns, Marc Pennington, Bill Poock, Amy Shalla, Frank Slabaugh, and Jay Strickland.

Gabrielle Frederick moved to adopt the agenda as presented.  Seconded by Denise Chittick.  Motion carried 6-0.

Consent Items

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

The minutes of September 28, 2020;

Finance Report

The Finance Report for September 2020;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for October 12, 2020; Prepaid Bills; and Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the month ended September 30, 2020;

Open Enrollment Requests

Zach Williams and Skyler Winter request Dexter Williams (Prekindergarten), attend Mid-Prairie from Iowa City Community School District for the 2020-21 School Year;

Jamie Kinzenbaw requests Jase Kinzenbaw (Grade 4) and Jordyn Kinzenbaw (Grade 2) attend Washington Community School District from Mid-Prairie;

Personnel Items –None presented for consideration;

Fundraising Requests –None presented for consideration;

Mary Allred seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 6-0.

Student Learning

Reevaluation of Face Coverings

President Schlabach briefly reviewed the happenings from the last meeting.  Face coverings are currently required in all Mid-Prairie Buildings.  At the September 28th meeting, after the public forum, the Board members each stated their current position.  In light of the newly announced guidance on September 28th with the promise of written and released guidance the following day—September 29th—with respect to masks and quarantine situations, the Board tabled the decision for face coverings on September 28th.  Schlabach noted that the guidance talks about face masks and did not include other types of face coverings.  After an additional two weeks of evaluation, the Board discussed the next steps and reasons behind those next steps. Board members discussed that students and staff with special needs or teaching issues need to be considered for exceptions.  Mask breaks at every level were also discussed as a necessity—initially a break taken every two hours and administered by the classroom teacher.  Learning is the ultimate goal for the whole group at Mid-Prairie.  Significant time was spent by the Board in discussion of how face coverings impact extra-curricular activities, both inside buildings and outside, as well as the impact on student participants, expectations for observers/fans—adult and students—to wear face coverings.  Discussion about whether or not to include a specific delineation in the motion for extra-curricular activities took place.  Gabrielle Frederick advocated for the inclusion of face coverings at extra-curricular activities even with the recognition that enforcement could be difficult.  The Board asked Administrators for observations on exceptions, social distancing, and other areas/issues that could be addressed, including extra-curricular activities.

Jeremy Pickard moved to keep face coverings for all students and employees required until further notice, including cloth masks, gators, and face shields while in the buildings and in District vehicles, with additional exceptions of being able to social distance at 6 feet when the administration and teacher/staff work out a plan, and other additional exceptions to include indoor physical education, indoor band practice/class, and any class with a safety concern (i.e. welding), when a doctor’s note is provided for medical reasons, or for students with IEPs as determined by the IEP team; and at a minimum a mask break must be provided every two hours—the mask break may occur within the building when being outside is not possible.  Denise Chittick seconded the motion.    Motion carried 4-2, with Mary Allred and Gabrielle Frederick voting no.

Early Out Schedule

As a follow up to last meeting where the concept was presented, Superintendent Schneider noted the early outs have not been used during the first 6 weeks of the school year.  He recommends the Board consider adding 5 90 minute early out once per week rather than a 2 hour early out every two weeks as shown on the School Calendar.  The specific dates were shared for changes to the calendar.  This strategy would be implemented to the December holiday break and then be reevaluated.  This would allow teachers additional preparation time for students who are quarantined, as this is a significant burden with the levels of quarantine the District has experienced and could experience as the weather changes.

Jeremy Pickard moved to approve a change to the School Calendar schedule to provide for a 90 minute early out once per week through the end of the December holiday break as presented.  Mary Allred seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Volunteers in Schools

Superintendent Schneider noted that volunteers and visitors have not been allowed in the school buildings since the beginning of the School Year due to COVID concerns.  While there may be interest in having volunteers return to the buildings sometime during the school year, the administrators do not make a recommendation to proceed at this time.  If no motion is made to change the current practice, volunteers will continue to not be allowed in the buildings.

Southeast Iowa Link Cares Act Funding Grant Application

Superintendent Schneider discussed the grant applications for Southeast Iowa Cares Act Funding.  The organization has made available grants of up to $20,000 to organizations that provide services to individuals with mental health challenges.  The District’s At-Risk team is preparing a grant application that was shared with the Board.  The application will require School Board approval as the application is for more the $5,000.

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve the grant application to Southeast Iowa Link as presented.  Jeremy Gugel seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

School Board Policy 505.5 – Graduation Requirements

Superintendent Schneider discussed the necessity to make a change for Graduation Requirements due to the transitions in this year between the High School Building, Home School Assistance Program and the Virtual Academy due to COVID.  He presented the recommended language for the changes just for the 2020-2021 School Year.  The Board asked questions for clarification. 

Gabrielle Frederick moved to adopt Board Policy 505.5, Graduation Requirements on First Reading as presented.  Denise Chittick seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Meeting

The Board asked for discussion of metrics in measuring data and determining when a change from in-person learning, moves to hybrid, or virtual and then back.

Discussion of use of buildings by outside groups and hear recommendations on if or when this might be allowed.

The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, October 26, 2020, at 6:15 p.m. at the Community Room at Central Office.  Agenda items to include the above noted items requested by the Board.


The meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.