School board hears reports on masks, shipping, other issues
September 23, 2021
After listening to public comment on mask wearing and vaccines, both for and against, the Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors heard about the shipping delays, covid funding, and earthquake assessments at their September meeting on Tuesday.
Several parents expressed concerns about how masks were affecting the health and mental health of their children and wanted answers from the board about why they were following mask and vaccine mandates. One person threatened to sue the district.
A student who was in attendance spoke up, sharing a different perspective.
“Having to wear the mask,” the student said, “the majority of us think it’s worth it because at least we get to be here. There is no reason for any of us to be upset over a mask, because we get to be in person here. I feel like our school is doing really great right now.”
Manufacturing and shipping issues are causing problems everywhere, including Wahkiakum School District, which has learned that a special education bus, which Superintendent Brent Freeman hoped to show the board on Tuesday, probably won’t arrive before November.
“It’s on the assembly line, and they don’t have a timeline for it,” Freeman said.
That’s not all. An HVAC unit at the school is still awaiting repairs because of missing parts. There was some good news, as the AG shop welding ventilation was fixed on Tuesday.
Freeman said that the state has been assessing schools for tsunami and earthquake threats in Washington for the last two years.
“We don’t have a tsunami threat, but there is an earthquake concern,” Freeman said.
J.A. Wendt Elementary School was assessed, according to the report, and it was determined that the extent of damage to the building in an 8.0 earthquake could be 49 percent, with the probability of entrapment rated moderately high.
“This goes back and supports what we already know about our facilities,” Freeman said. “We need some of these upgrades.”
Budget Manager Shelby Garrett provided an overview on covid funding at the district.
The district was given almost
$119,000 to be spent through ESSER
(Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) 1, which must be spent by August 31, 2022, she said.
They’ve claimed about 73 percent of it so far, spending the monies on items like temperature scanners, hand sanitizer, extra staffing, professional development, and air filters. They will receive another $430,000 through ESSER 2, which must be spent by August 31, 2023; $774,000 through ESSER 3A which must be spent by August, 2024; and $193,000 through ESSER 3B.
“There are specific things we can and can’t spend this money on,” Freeman said. “One of the things we can spend this money on is HVAC.”
Freeman hopes that the district might be able to use that money, along with some grants, to make some improvements to their infrastructure.
The directors approved extracurricular overnight trips for school activities throughout the year, like sports, FFA, college and trade school visits, and CISPUS. They also accepted a resignation from Golf Coach Nick Vavoudis.
The board closed the public meeting for an executive session to discuss legal issues.