Members of the Waterloo fitness center only had a limited amount of time to enjoy the new space before it needed to shut down due to COVID-19. However, pool and fitness center director Janessa Henning is eyeing July 6 as the reopening date for both facilities.
The plan was presented at the June 9 Waterloo School Board meeting. Business Manager Sharon Peterson said the district had potentially wanted to reopen the spaces in June. However, the fitness center and pool could not open before June 30 since both are inside the school buildings, which cannot reopen until July 1 per the portion of Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order that was upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“Janessa has been working very hard to make sure she re-creates the structure of programs she has so that everybody will be safe to come in,” Peterson said. “All of this is being done with the mindset that this will be a two-week trial, we’ll see how it goes and we’ll fix what needs to be fixed to make sure everybody stays safe.”
Among the measures Henning is looking to implement at the fitness center will be stickers to indicate six-foot distances to allow the recommended amount of space between people, one-way floor arrows, disinfecting schedules, taking the temperature of people coming to use the facilities, and posting guidelines on how to keep one another safe.
Peterson said visitors will be encouraged to wear a mask when at the fitness center, including the classes such as Zumba and bootcamp.
“Everybody will have to appreciate the fact they are in a room for everybody and will have to make sure they themselves are safe,” the business manager said.
The guidelines have also put in place restricting the number of people who can use the pool at the same time.
Peterson said one of the biggest challenges facing the community is a decision on swimming lessons; she said there will be no swimming instruction this summer, but there may be lessons in the fall. Furthermore, no parties larger than 10 people will be able to utilize the pool until further notice.
“I don’t believe the document is complete, but it would be a good start,” said board president Matt Schneider.
The board approved the reopening plan and also asked Henning to create a policy in case there were to be a COVID-19 outbreak at either of the facilities.
SRO decision tabled
While the Madison Metropolitan School District is considering removing all school resource officers (SROs) from their buildings, the Waterloo School Board discussed whether the local district should have an SRO.
Schneider said if the district would like to add the position to its budget, the cost would range from $100,000 for a full-time person to $65,000 for a part-time officer. This would fund not only the salary, but also a benefits package. Thus far, the district has not written a description of the position’s duties.
During previous discussions, there was talk about partnering with the city to share the costs of the SRO, but Peterson noted there have been no conversations between the two entities.
Pupil Services Director Victoria Kalscheuer asked the board to hold off on making a decision as the pupil services team would be providing an update in July on preventative measures it would like to put in place.
“If there’s a chance we can come up with $100,000 in the budget, I’d want it to be used for mental health resources for our students and prevention,” said board member Kate Lewandowski.
Board treasurer Gene Kegler agreed, saying there was a bigger need for student mental health resources than an on-site police officer; board member Karen Stangler added that due to the unknown financial conditions the district might face next year, it may not be the best time to add a staff member.
The school board also
• Had preliminary discussion plans on how the district would like to see the schools reopen in the fall. District families would be given a survey to help guide the district’s decision; they will have two weeks to complete it and return the survey to the district.
“We want to reopen and we want to do it safely,” Schneider said, adding there has been a lot of information on recommendations from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction and Department of Public Health.
• Approved a letter campaign fundraiser for the high school volleyball team. The team initially planned to hold a tournament at the Fourth of July event at Firemen’s Park, but with its cancellation are looking to find other options to raise money for the 2020 season. Letters asking for donations of up to $40 will be sent only to parents of current players.
According to Athletic Director Dave Frisell, the majority of the team’s budget is spent on fees and annual dues, leaving little money left over to pay for new volleyballs, more uniforms to accommodate a growing team roster, and lower-level tournament fees.
Board member Jim Setz asked if allowing this particular fundraiser would set a precendent for other teams who may come forward with the same request. Schneider reminded the board fundraises must be approved by the body so any other team wishing to have a letter campaign to raise money would need to get board approval.
• Learned there will be no in-person summer school this year due to COVID-19. The district is still working on details to hold the annual migrant summer school program.
• Approved hiring Erika Ellerie as the district school psychologist; Emily Scharenbroch as intermediate/middle school science teacher; Matthew Jewell as the intermediate/middle school social studies teacher; Koreena Martens as a high school math teacher; and Ricky Lauth, Joey Lauth, Britney Limoseth, Melanie Renforth, Erin Fugate, Ashley Krueger, and Evan Holzhueter for summer custodial maintenance positions.
• Approved the resignations of elementary early childhood special education staff member Bethany Kelly and Sara Manders, who had been approved for employment as the middle school science teacher for the upcoming school year.
• Approved applying for waivers of an instructional minutes and educator effectiveness teacher requirements from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.