The Lake Mills Board of Education welcomed Dr. Tonya Olson to the district at a school board meeting Monday.
“I’m honored to be working with all of you,” Olson said. “I feel like I’ve been so welcomed not only by the district office staff but by the community and the teachers.”
Olson updated the board on the plans for school in the fall.
“Information changes weekly and we are trying to make decisions based on the information we have at hand,” she said.
The district surveyed staff and families several weeks ago.
There were 199 responses on the staff survey.
“Almost 48% of the staff preferred starting with a modified schedule with blended learning format. Thirty-six percent advocated for starting the school year face to face. Sixteen percent advocated for complete virtual start.”
Fifty-two percent of staff members who responded to the survey said if a modified schedule had to happen they would prefer an AB schedule.
Most teachers said they would be willing to wear masks or face shields.
“We did get our facemask order from DPI. Every school got their allocation. We got 3,000 face masks to use.”
The district also received six thermometers and has ordered face shields for staff.
“Ordering anything now for the start of the school years is getting pretty competitive,” she said. “We are planning for any scenario at any time during the school year. We just want to be prepared because it doesn’t look like COVID is going away anytime soon.”
The offices may also have plexiglass shields and the possibility of using them in some classroom settings.
“We are working to outfit the buildings and make everything safe.”
The parent survey had 957 responses with 47% of parents saying they would prefer to send their child back to school face to face five days a week, 34% said they would prefer to start on an AB schedule and 12% said they would prefer a full virtual option.
“The overwhelming majority of parents preferred the AB rotation. A lot of parents asked to keep their kids together for planning for childcare. It’s a little easier to find whole day childcare rather than half day childcare.”
The parents who responded to the survey were split about whether or not children should wear a facemask.
Transportation has been the most difficult part of the scenario for the district, Olson said.
“Thirteen percent said they currently ride the bus and they plan to ride the bus again in the fall.”
Olson said there will likely be a virtual option this fall regardless of if students return to classes.
“We just know there are some kids who won’t be able to come back to school and there are some parents who won’t feel comfortable sending their kids back.”
Planning is ongoing in the district with teachers, staff members and administrators.
“Our goal is to bring our recommendations to the board next Monday to the board workshop to walk through the very specific parts of that plan.”
The goal would be for the plan to be approved July 27 at a special board meeting after the district’s annual meeting at 7 p.m.
“Parents will have the entire month of August to decide what’s best for their child and to make plans if they need other plans and ask questions.”
Each week the superintendents in Jefferson County have been meeting to align their efforts.
“Pam Streich was hired by Jefferson County to be a liaison for all the Jefferson County school districts as we work through our plans,” Olson said. “She is our go to so the county is speaking directly with her.”
Olson said the goal countywide is to have similar plans.
“We are really trying to have some strong commonalities among school districts.”
She said the parochial schools in the county have been involved in the planning as well.
Nate Grundahl updated the board on summer school saying 237 students participated in the first session of the virtual program with classes from cooking to virtual theater.
In other business the board:
— Approved a consent agenda.
— Approved budget adjustments for the 2019-20 school year.
— Approved Dr. Tonya Olson and Wendy Brockert to open and maintain bank accounts and safety deposit boxes for the district.
— Approved academic standards for next school year.
— Approved waiving academic eligibility grade requirements for fall sports at LMHS, until the first grading period of the 2020-21 school year.
— Approved the L-Cat Stadium fee schedule.
— Approved a lease agreement with Rock Lake Activity Center for Club 55.
— Approved the contract amendment for Amanda Thompson, elementary school principal for $20,000 to also serve as the director of curriculum.
—The board approved the following gifts: A $100 donation for the Elementary School’s Talk-Read-Play program from the friends of the L.D. Fargo Library in honor of Carolyn Wey, Commemorative plaques valued at $576.55 for the Girls’ State Basketball Team from Fiberdome, a monetary donation of $4,800 for COVID-19 Relief Funds from United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties, a $7,000 Grant to the Lake Mills FFA to help support building an animal demonstration facility from the Jefferson County Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, and a $10,000 Grant to the Lake Mills FFA for the construction of a new greenhouse from the Jefferson County Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.