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By Marlana Smith
The North Shelby Board of Education met Tuesday, October 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library. Vice President Shawn McEwen led the meeting with six members present.
The board attended a 30-minute demonstration from the Conduct of Meetings’ FFA team, who were practicing for the National FFA Convention which is scheduled for October 27-30.
New Quarantine Options
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Health and Senior Services recently updated quarantine guidance/options for Missouri’s school districts. The Shelby Co. Health Department adopted these options at their most recent board meeting. Superintendent Kim Gaines presented the “test to stay/play” option to the board.
Using this option, students who are identified as close contacts to a positive can stay in school by being tested using an antigen test (negative) three times in the first 7 days before entrance to school, wearing a mask (properly) at school (except while eating/drinking) and on the bus for the duration of the quarantine period, and being monitored daily for symptoms.
Close contacts who participate in school activities will, at a minimum, be required to test negative the day of an event, but it is recommended to test daily for the duration of the quarantine period. If, at any time, the close contact tests positive, he/she will then be placed in isolation by the health department. The school is applying to receive antigen tests for the district and participating in training to administer the antigen tests.
Until the district is approved to provide the testing, parents will need to have their student tested if they are identified as a close contact and wish to participate in this option. No testing will take place without parental consent. Another option that is now available to the district is the “test negative at day 7/wear a mask until day 10” option.
Under this option, a student who is identified as a close contact may come back to school at day 7 of quarantine if he/she has tested negative on days 5, 6 or 7. If the close contact tests negative on day 5 or 6, he/she may not return until day 7 and must wear a mask the remaining three days. These students may not participate in extra-curricular or outside of school activities.
These new options do not apply if the close contact is from the home.
Gaines explains, “School districts have been placed in a very volatile situation, and no matter what we do, parents on both sides of this issue are upset. We have parents who feel we are not doing enough to protect our students to those who feel the school is harming students by contact tracing/quarantine.
“Our first line of defense is the parent—time and again, we have asked parents to keep their kids home if they are sick, take their temps each day, and monitor them for symptoms, and yet, we still have kids sent to school that have been given a fever reducing medicine or are visibly showing symptoms.
“We also have parents who are taking an active role in monitoring their children’s health—thank you!
“Parents want their kids in school, so there are options parents can choose to make that happen: 1) vaccination—students who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine unless they begin to show symptoms; 2) Test negative at day 7 option: this option will reduce the number of school days missed; 3) Test to stay/play, or 4) utilize the current quarantine period of 10 days.” The board approved these new options.
High School Principal Report
Kerri Greenwell provided the following information to the board:
Congratulations to the following alumni who will be receiving their American Degrees at the National FFA Convention: Elijah Greenwell, Lauren Keller and Gus Williams.
Congratulations to Luke Schwanke, the top individual at the Paris trap meet, for shooting 50/50.
Mr. Houston Bichsel took the eighth-grade class to a career fair at Hannibal LaGrange University on October 19.
Elementary Principal Report
Jennifer Rich provided the following information to the board:
Unfortunately, the dental varnish and check had to be postponed, but the dental truck was here for checks and did work on students to fill cavities, pull teeth and put some crowns on.
Kelly McEwen held a PAT get together at Kessler Park in Shelbyville from 10 – 11 a.m. on September 30. She begins her Parent Educator training next week. After she finishes, she will be able to begin home visits.
The elementary staff has been focusing on building community and staff morale. We have had a couple of get togethers after school just for some fun and relaxation. We met at Haley Hardy’s to work on our float for the Homecoming parade and enjoyed pizza. We also met at the new Mexican restaurant in Shelbyville.
I attended another meeting at my first-year principals’ group from the RPFC at Truman.
In new business, the board approved the 2021-2022 bus routes; this is done twice each school year. The final financial audit report from Gerding, Korte, and Chitwood was also approved.
The board approved to utilize the Missouri Association of Rural Education (MARE) Superintendent Search Service in filling the vacancy for superintendent.
The consent agenda—minutes from the September meeting and the bills—were approved.
In executive session, the board voted to offer a contract to Hope Parsons as an elementary para/aide. The board also accepted the retirement/resignation of Kerri Greenwell as the high school principal.