By Tim Huether
The first day of students back in school went well, according to all three principals and Superintendent Stacy Halverson, reporting at the Bennett County School District’s regular board meeting Monday in Martin.
“On our first day of school, I was in every building and I felt things were going quite well,” said Halverson. “I imagine there are some kinks already that they have seen and we are going to talk about which we’ll keep working on every day.”
Halverson said she made a minor change to the Return to School Plan, which is assigned seating on the bus, a recommendation by the CDC.
She said the school will be participating in Sentinel Testing, a voluntary testing program through the State Dept. of Health. They recommend you test five percent of your asymptomatic staff each month, about six people for the District. The idea is to try to figure out why some people seem to be asymptomatic and still may be carriers. The staff was surveyed and 64 percent was interested in participating. It is not the invasive test, it is a simple nostril test.
“I think it will be a good thing to do so I did sign us up,” said Halverson.
Jed Liedtke of Puetz Construction updated the board on the progress on the new facility, saying, “All in all, the progress has been great, the weather has been a little hot for the boys...we could use a little rain. Other than that, it has been going good.”
“The mason’s have really started hitting their stride, which is good,” said Liedtke. “Next week, we are going to try to get New Age in there and they will do the pre-engineered steel for the gym. The retaining wall should be complete this week and all the underground rough-ins such as plumbing and electrical are complete.
Liedtke said there are two levels of the retaining wall and it really looks sharp.
In other board discussion, concern was expressed about the concession stands and putting students and staff at risk.
Board member Josh Fanning questioned if they should be doing it, saying, “It seems strange we are practicing social distancing and throw a concession stand in there. I’d rather just not have them.”
“We can go to prepackaged items such as drinks, chips, candy bars, limit your menu,” said Halverson.
Board member Todd Alexander said he felt the football stadium concessions stand is more spread out, but the Legion Gym concession stand will be a bit challenging.
The board agreed to cancel them until the next meeting and inform visiting teams there would be no concessions at the events until the next board meeting at least.
With the concerns over COVID-19, the board was reminded that they will try to video stream all the events so people could watch from home if they are concerned.
Middle School Principal and Athletic Director Jon Pierson said the football game against Lead-Deadwood this Friday in Deadwood will be a little bit of a challenge as Lead-Deadwood is allowing just four people per player on the Warrior roster to enter the game. If parents or fans are wanting to attend, they need to get their names submitted and the list of names will be sent to the school and will be at the gates to get in. The exception will be that they will be allowing our high school students in. Pierson said their Athletic Director stated they are not trying to keep people out, it is to track who is there.
Also in athletics, Pierson said he is working on trying to reschedule two replacement football games as Todd County and Pine Ridge are not having fall sports. The volleyball schedule also needs some work but he has two replacement games lined up with Belle Fourche coming instead of Todd County and the Warriors will travel to Timber Lake for another game.
He said he anticipates many changes coming and will communicate as much as possible.
At the Middle School, Principal Pierson said he appreciated the school going with the 50/50 on students attending the first two weeks as they had a lot of kinks to work out.
“It was great to see the kids today after about six months away,” remarked Pierson. “We had 37 kids today and six or seven students are choosing online at this point. We had a decent showing at school and it went well.”
At the high school, principal Nick Redden said they had a fantastic first day with students ready to be back.
“It was great to have them back (students),” said Redden. “I went around to every class today and I told the students I missed them,” said Redden. “With all the changes and stuff, and they hate changes, but they just rolled through everything...I saw a lot of smiles.”
Redden said at this point they have six signed up for distance learning and five were out due to the 14 day quarantine in Allen.
Grade School Principal Amie Kuxhaus said the day went really fast at her facility. She said Pre-school is full with 12 on Monday and Wednesday and 12 on Tuesday, Thursday.
There were a few kinks to work on with food service but it went well district wide.
She said she had 37 student calls from parents with concerns. Of those 37, 10 completed forms and 17 students came to school today.
Arrival and dismissal went well and that was helped by having half the students attending today and the other half tomorrow. Kuxhaus said in addition to assigned seating on the buses, they have assigned seating for lunches in the lunchroom.
Federal Programs Director Belinda Ready reported they are working on the monthly at-home activity packets for families. Other things in progress or completed are: Professional Development for teachers, Professional Development for para-professionals, curriculum binders for teachers and more.
In other board action, the board:
- Moved to transfer funds from Fund 27, Impact Aid Fund to the following:
Fund 10, General Fund, $200,000
Fund 21, Capital Outlay, $350,000
Fund 44, BCHS Gym and Fitness, $2,000,000
- Moved to accept the resignation of Kristine Novak, Janitor, effective immediately.
- Moved to accept contracts for the following for the 2020-2021 school year:
Duke Waln, Head Girls Basketball Coach, $5,250.00
Jon McDonnell, Assistant Football Coach, $1,910.00
Lisa Rayhill, M/S, H/S School Nurse, $20.00 per hour
Arthur Brown, Elementary PE, $15.00 per hour
- Moved to accept the following voluntary transfers:
Abbie Saxton, Middle School PE/Health to High School PE/Health
Clinton Neville, Elementary PE/Health to Middle School PE/Health
- Moved to recognize Nick Shriver as football volunteer for 2020 football season.
- Moved to approve lane change for Gary Alexander to BA+12, $525.00.
- Moved to approve request of Kadoka Area District to run a bus to Bennett County School District to a designated agreed upon pickup location.
- Moved to approve home school exemption for 2020-2021 for:
- Elementary student
- Middle School student
- Moved to approve change of Homecoming from October 9, to October 2, 2020. The football game originally set for Oct. 9, has been cancelled, prompting the change.
The board entered executive session, then after going back into normal session, moved to accept the resignation of Kolette Struble, Elementary Music Instructor, with $2500 liquidated damages.
The next regular board meeting is set for Monday, Sept. 21.