No Changes To Oskaloosa Return To Learn Plan

OSKALOOSA – At this past week’s special session of the Oskaloosa School Board, the Board reviewed the district’s current Return to Learn plan as well as current COVID-19 data for Mahaska County, to determine if any changes to the plan are needed. For now, Superintendent Paula Wright is not recommending changes.

Wright noted during the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 27, that Mahaska County’s positivity rate has been hovering around 15 percent. She also said that as of that meeting, there were over 30 students in quarantine, and seven had tested positive. Wright said that the Countywide numbers were a little alarming, however, she did not recommend reverting to a hybrid learning model yet, because the evidence on Coronavirus cases in the Oskaloosa School District that she has seen shows spread is happening outside of school, not in the school.

“Certainly, if we start to see spread in the schools, then we will be making some changes,” Wright said.

Wright also expressed her concern for services that the district provides, such as mental health services and breakfast and lunch meals, that could be lost to some students should the district go to a face-to-face or hybrid learning model on a temporary basis.

Several board members, including board Vice President Sharma Parlett and member Charlie Comfort, agreed with Wright’s assessment on the services provided, as well as the fact that there is no current evidence suggesting spread within school buildings.

Wright also updated the Board on student absentee rates and staffing levels. She noted that the district’s overall absenteeism rate has been low overall, with the elementary school having the lowest rates. Wright said that students who are in quarantine are not counted against the district’s absentee rate.

The district’s staffing level has not taken a major hit, Wright reported. The district’s biggest challenge has been substitute teacher staffing, where the district has taken a bit of a hit. Wright and Business Manager Chad Vink reported that substitute teachers are in demand this year. Wright noted that on one particular day, she substituted in a couple of classes at the high school, due to an urgent need.

Ultimately, the Board opted not to make any changes to the District’s Return to Lean Plan.

The next regular meeting of the Oskaloosa School Board will be on November 10, at 6 pm, in the George Daily Auditorium Meeting Room.

Posted by on Oct 28 2020. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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