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Handling school, sports concerns

BEA Board hears update on learning models, winter sports rules

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jan 17, 2021

Superintendent Mandy Fletcher, seated, listens to a presentation on Q-Comp by Jayne Kalis, left, and Kris Flohrs, right.

The Blue Earth Area School Board held their first meeting of the year on Monday evening, Jan. 11.

Administering the oath of office to newly elected board members Ted Armon, Jeff Eckles and Lindsay Mensing was the first order of business.

The floor was then opened for nominations for the position of board chairperson. Sara Hauskins and Susie Rosenau were each nominated and in a close 4-3 vote, Rosenau was elected as the chairperson.

Hauskins was then elected to the position of vice chairman. Stacey Beyer was elected to serve as the clerk for the board and Kyle Zierke was elected to be the treasurer.

Superintendent Fletcher’s report included information regarding the COVID-19 numbers in the district.

“There are three active cases among students at this time but none in the staff,” Fletcher informed the board. “Even though there are only three active cases, it is having an impact on some of the extra-curricular activities.”

She also informed the board testing for COVID-19 will be available for staff members on Thursday, Jan. 14.

“We are required by the state to offer testing for our staff but they are not required to be tested,” Fletcher explained. “It is the saliva test and will be available every other Thursday beginning this week.”

She noted some districts had the testing for staff available last week.

“So far I have not heard of any major spike in numbers associated with the testing,” Fletcher reported.

The other main topic she brought before the board was the learning models for the students.

“The students in grades 8-12 will remain in the hybrid learning model for the time being,” she stated. “However, beginning Jan. 26, students in grades K-7 will return to all in-person learning.”

During his principal report, Dave Dressler told board members the search was on for new math curriculum for the students in grades K-7.

“We have had the current math series for quite awhile,” he explained. “We are looking into several options and hope to be able to make a decision by this summer.”

He also had an update about the February parent-teacher conferences.

“We are hoping to offer both in-person and virtual conference options,” Dressler said.

Activities director Rob Norman updated the board on the winter activities schedule.

“Speech and One-Act plays will be taped for their competitions. The Math League is holding virtual meets,” Norman commented. “As far as athletics go, as of right now basketball players must wear their masks at all times unless an athlete has a written note from a doctor stating the person has asthma.”

He also addressed the mask requirements for gymnastics and wrestling.

“Because of vision concerns in gymnastics and choking concerns in wrestling, those athletes do not have to wear masks while competing,” Norman explained.

He also had some news concerning spectators.

“Because of the size of our venue, we will not be allowing fans from visiting teams to attend gymnastics meets,” Norman informed the board. “Other schools are having to do the same thing regarding gymnastics.”

The news was different concerning other sports.

“We are looking at each participant receiving two passes. They will be good for both home and away events,” Norman commented. “During home wrestling triangular meets, fans will be asked to clear the gym between matches.”

Families who have children participating in athletics should have received an email on Tuesday, Jan. 12, with a more detailed explanation of the current policy.

The board also:

• Received an update on Q-Comp from teachers Jayne Kalis and Kris Flohrs.

• Set Jan. 25, for a work session to discuss staffing positions and superintendent Fletcher’s mid-year goals.

• Updated the committee assignments for board members.

• Granted a leave of absence to first grade teacher Keli Enser, effective Jan. 26.

• Approved an extension to the leave of absence for K-7 Special Education associate, Konny Wolff, to June 4.