Students who attend summer school in the Marshall School District will need to continue wearing masks when they are in the school building. The school board voted at its June 2 Committee of the Whole meeting that face coverings would be required of students, staff and visitors in the school buildings.
Despite Public Health Madison & Dane County removing its mask mandate and gathering restrictions effective the same day as the meeting, Marshall school administration initially suggested face coverings be recommended while indoors, required when on school transportation and optional when outside.
Superintendent Dan Grady said while the county lifted the masking order, PHMDC strongly recommends face coverings, the Wisconsin Department of Health indicated people should continue social distancing and wearing masks, and the CDC recommends continuing masking.
“Knowing the community and knowing the CDC and DHS and Public Health Madison & Dane County (recommendations), what should the communication say,” he said. “I don’t have a crystal ball but I wonder if CDC and DHS, what, if any, additional guidance would be coming.”
Board Clerk Heather Herschleb advocated for continuing to require masks during summer school, particularly because the student population of those under 12 have not been able to get vaccinated.
“The world just kind of came back around in the last week,” she said. “Two weeks from now, it might be a whole different situation – we don’t know.”
Board Treasurer Allison Fuelling agreed, noting the majority of summer school attendees are younger than 12. She also said the summer school staff should wear face coverings as a way to model behavior for the students.
“As much as it stinks to wear a mask – I don’t love it, but your building that relationship that the teachers care about you and want to protect you,” Fuelling said.
There are a few exceptions to the masking requirement – when students are outside and are socially distanced they can remove face coverings and students who participate in any of the two high school summer programs focusing on intense athletic conditioning have the option to wear masks.
In the event a student attending summer school tests positive for COVID-19, those recognized as being in close contact would be asked to quarantine for 10 days. Grady said the district would also look to determine the vaccination status of the impacted students.
Marshall summer school’s first session runs June 14 to July 2 and the second session is July 6-23.
Weight room to get a facelift
“As you look into that room right now, it lacks a little bit of pride,” said Marshall High School Principal Eugene Syvrud regarding the school’s weight room.
In an effort to upgrade the facility, the school will use unspent money budgeted for the athletic department to pay for the updates. The principal said the savings are the result of a reduced number of sports contests due to COVID-19.
The school will spend $57,000 to purchase new apparatus.
“It’s going to install a lot of pride in our students, in our athletes, which will carryover into the classroom, into the hallways and the community itself,” Syvrud said.
He said competitively, the high school is at a disadvantage in what weight room equipment is available. According to him, the schools Marshall competes against in athletic contests have better facilities.
“We would like to take this opportunity, now that we have some money, to invest in our weight room to give our kids a safer, better place to work out and build some pride. We all know winning doesn’t happen at the start of the season, it happens between the seasons.”
Syvrud anticipates the work will be completed by July 1.
Other board action:
• Approved consolidating the two special education bus routes for the 2021-2022 school year. Go Riteway will use a regular sized bus as opposed to a smaller bus for the route. As part of this decision, the district will need to transport any students who live in the Evergreen Village mobile home park using a district vehicle as the full-sized bus will not be able to maneuver on the narrow aisles.
• Approved joining a purchasing card program. District Business Manager Bob Chady pointed out the district credit cards do not offer any sort of rebates. The district will switch to a purchasing card program, which provides a rebate back to the district. Chady said the rebates would help generate a bit of revenue for the district.
• Heard from Director of Instruction Randy Bartels about the 2021-2022 professional learning plan. Part of this plan includes early student release on Mondays. Board members were still concerned about families not being able to secure after-school care on the early release day. The board is set to vote June 16 on whether to have the weekly early release day.