Summer school to move forward while fall school plans halt
South Tama mulls return to learn following Governor’s proclamation
Update: The South Tama School board voted 3-1 Thursday morning to adopt a hybrid plan for returning learn. More details will be in the July 31 News Chronicle.
Plans to go with a hybrid option were in the works for South Tama, that is until Governor Reynolds held a press conference Friday.
The proclamation put in place by Reynolds, which said students should go back to school, now has school administrators going back to the drawing board.
South Tama Superintendent, Jared Smith, announced at a school board meeting Monday his recommendation following that Friday press conference is to return to school in person.
“Whether you agree with it or not the governor is really forcing the school district’s hands to return to school,” said Smith.
That means putting roughly 800 students and teachers in the Elementary building alone.
School board member, Mandy Lekin, shared she felt the school should honor Reynold’s wishes speaking in favor of students returning full time in person.
Other members of the school board didn’t quite feel the same. Clint Werner will not be sending his daughter to school. School board president, Penny Tyynismaa, also shared similar sentiments saying she couldn’t ask other parents to do something she wasn’t willing to do herself.
“Science is not aligning with bringing students back,” said Tyynismaa.
She went on to share that cases continue to rise in the county and younger people are getting the virus.
“We have the sixth highest positivity rate for our population for the state,” said Tyynismaa who has two children at South Tama. Also her husband, Robert teaches math at the high school.
Alan Kline doesn’t have children in the system but he also appeared to question wheter returning in person was the best option.
“”The state has intervened prematurely,” said Kline.
Tyynismaa works for Tama County Public Health and has seen the effects of the virus first hand.
South Tama had originally planned for a hybrid model. But at Monday’s meeting Superintendent Smith didn’t appear comfortable going against the Governor’s proclamation.
“Hybrid is probably the safer option but we would completely be going rogue if we went with the A/B option,” said Smith.
The meeting ended with Tyynismaa requesting Smith gather information about what it would take to get a waiver. The board will meet again on Thursday at 9 a.m.
“Summer school will tell us a lot about what is going to happen,” said Tyynismaa.
While plans for the fall are up in the air at the time of deadline, summer school is moving forward.
There will be eight students per class. A nurse will be on duty each day. Staff will be required to wear face coverings.
Some criteria staff have been working on includes: Students will be required to wear masks while inside the building. Face coverings will be provided. Entry ways made available to students will be monitored by a staff member. Desks will be spaced six feet apart. They will try to have lunch outside but that will depend on the weather. Water fountains will be turned off. They are still working on how to refill water bottles
“We believe we have a strong and safe plan for summer school,” said Elementary Principal Brad Schweppe.
“We are going into summer school thinking it’s going to be a trial run for us,” said Superintendent Jared Smith.
Coaching contracts were awarded to Dave Nitz for 9th grade boys basketball, Crystal Hass as Assistant Individual Speech Coach, Cory Lang for Assistant 8th Football Coach, Morgan McFate for High School Basketball Cheer and Joe Miller for 7th grade boys basketball.
Dave Cantonwine is transferring from a part-time to a full time bus route. Crystal Hass is transferring from 8th grade Literacy to Middle School Counselor.
Resignations were accepted for Ron Lowe, Crystal Hass and Connie Cooper.
Jessica Poush was hired as the new Superintendent secretary.
In other business
Mary Boege was appointed as Secretary and Board Treasurer. The State Bank of Toledo and Lincoln Savings Bank were named as bank depositories. The Tama Toledo News Chronicle was named as the official legal publication for the district. The garbage pick up bid was approved.