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The November West Side School Board Meeting was its usual brief affair.

The biggest point of discussion was the COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations from last month that the school board gave to the health commission. All of them were approved just in time for them all to be eclipsed by the governor’s new Stay Healthy Order which modifies Stage 3 of the state’s opening stages.

According to research presented in the meeting, places which spread COVID-19 most are not large gathering places such as schools but rather homes. With the temperature dropping, people are staying inside in close proximity with each other for extended periods, said district Superintendent Spencer Barzee. This could be why schools are allowed to stay open under the Stay Healthy Order.

At present those who are presenting symptoms of COVID-19 are being asked to stay home for a full week before returning to school, wearing a mask for another full week. The issue that drove conversation amongst the board at that point was about asymptomatic people. Since any person who has tested positive may be forced to self-isolate, many people are simply opting out of testing altogether. Many of the board members expressed the opinion that “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Barzee said the eighth grade history class was tasked to research and create something about Colonial America. Their projects ranged from baking period foods with samples, to how flintlock weapons worked.

The results of the District Parent Survey have been collated. The results revealed that parents ranked all three schools, H. B. Lee Elementary, Beutler Middle School and West Side High School, high in terms of matching a student’s interests with activities, giving them a sense of belonging, and most importantly a safe and positive environment in which to learn.

The meeting ended with a review of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. CARES was a federal grant provided to offset the damages that the pandemic would have caused to the district’s finances, most notably salary securing full-time employees such as faculty an average of $2,080, and part-time employees such as bus drivers, paraprofessionals, etc., $500. In total, the district was given $446,469 over six separate distributions. In addition to salary, the money also went to student, teacher and classroom devices, content, curriculum and licenses, custodial and after school programs.

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