By TOM LAVENTURE
The 4-0 vote will keep with the school district’s Return to School document that governs in-school and virtual education during the pandemic. School Board member Kathy Saari was not present.
The recommendation from school district administrator Kevin Genisot came during his semester update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the school communicates with the Iron County Health Office daily and that parental feedback shows a preference for in-school learning.
“This is the 12th week of school and as of now we still haven’t had one single (COVID-19) case traced back through contact tracing to any students within the Hurley School. So that speaks volumes,” Genisot said.
There is certainly the possibility that a trace COVID-19 case could happen when students are asymptomatic, but it hasn’t happened yet this semester, he said. The staff and students are doing their part in wearing face coverings, cleaning, social distancing, hand washing and not coming to school when they aren’t feeling well to keep the building as safe as possible, he said.
“We continue to do everything we can within our means to allow students to experience school as typically as possible,” Genisot said. “With that in mind, I have no recommendations of any changes and we keep everything as is until the December board meeting.”
The December school board meeting was rescheduled to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. The date was moved up from Dec. 21 due to the holiday schedule.
Genisot continued his report noting that it is not possible to host school holiday concerts in the school this year. The student choral and band members will record a concert that will be posted for online viewing.
Genisot said parent-teacher conferences were held via Zoom on Nov 11-12. He said the feedback was positive.
“It doesn’t replace having the parents in the school but it was certainly a nice exception to that,” Genisot said.
In the school finance officer’s report, Breanne Lombardo said she is working with the school food service department weekly regarding updates on pandemic operations. Meals are averaging around 105 breakfasts and 250 lunches per day with weekend meals averaging around 170 breakfasts and lunches.
“We are also in the beginning stages of working on a grant to get a couple of new pieces of kitchen equipment,” she said.
Steve Lombardo, district athletic director, said the fall season sports programs are all completed. Given the pandemic circumstances the programs went well both on and off the field, he said.
“All of our fall sports were very successful this year and had to overcome playing and practicing with face-coverings on as well as adjusting to constant scheduling changes,” Lombardo said in his report. “I am very proud of our students and coaches for their passion, commitment, and patience. We now look forward to a winter sports season which will include many of the same challenges.”
The winter sports calendar is underway with high school basketball having a full 24-game schedule for both the high school boys and girls teams. The boys hockey program will start in December.
The middle school boys basketball will have a 10 game schedule this fall. The middle school girls basketball schedule was to start in the fall but the conference pushed the schedule to spring.
The schedules will change depending on the circumstances of the pandemic as it impacts the conference communities, he said. Basketball will follow conference guidelines and start with no concessions, no locker room access or spectator attendance. Face masks will be worn at all practices and games by players, coaches and officials.
There were minimal spectator tickets allowed for volleyball games but that will not happen with basketball that tends to draw larger crowds, Lombardo said. The streaming options for the gym have proven excellent with volleyball and should provide optimal viewing for basketball as well, he said.
Hurley School has a streaming account through a partnership between the school, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and National Federation of High Schools Association. Viewers can watch Hurley School games at nfhsnetwork.com.
In other business the school board tabled discussion of the general fund balance and to establish special account funds for planned future expenses. The board members directed Genisot to research various banks, credit unions and investment firms for consultation on accounts and interest rates to present at the December board meeting.