School board deals with covid-19
March 26, 2020
The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors met on Tuesday, with some attending at the usual location in the high school library, while others checked in via Zoom, an online application that allows for audio and video conferencing.
Directors approved supplemental contracts for the coaches of spring sports, as well as for coaches who saw an extended winter season that sent several teams to state competition.
They also adopted two resolutions. The first was a response to the public health emergency, covid-19. It states the district will follow guidance from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and it authorizes the superintendent to direct staff assignments, limit access to school grounds and facilities, and more.
The second resolution extended the transportation fund, which helped pay for two new buses. The district has had the new buses for about two weeks and are awaiting licensing as well as students’ return to school.
According to Superintendent Brent Freeman, enrollment was 491 at full time equivalency at the beginning of March. Because classes are not expected to resume until April 27, enrollment in April will be based on a mix of March’s count and historical enrollment data.
After Governor Jay Inslee announced a stay at home order on Monday, only essential employees will be allowed at the district. Essential employees will include food service, the custodians supporting food service, drivers delivering meals, and office staff who are taking meal orders.
The county will be making badges for those employees, Freeman said.
Freeman also noted that he had seen a lot of people using the playground. The equipment is not being sanitized, he said.
The GAP bag program has given about 70 bags of food to families in the community and the school district’s food services provided 220 breakfasts and lunches last week. The meal count went up again on Tuesday, according to Freeman.
“They are serving good, quality meals,” Freeman said, “including fresh vegetables where they can.”
Freeman said they were also enjoying a good partnership with St. James Family Center, who was providing childcare while the school district provided meals.
He also said that staff had begun to engage with students to encourage them to keep up with their education while classes have been suspended. They have been providing instruction or tutoring to students who are motivated to continue their learning.
All the high school students are issued Chromebooks each year, and hotspots have been set up around the district for students who don’t have access to the internet.
On March 20, Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal sent out a bulletin to districts throughout the state providing guidance for school staff to help seniors meet graduation requirements.
Finally, directors approved payroll and vouchers.