The Osceola School Board approved the hire of two health aides during its Aug. 7 meeting. 

The issue was first brought to the Board last month, but it was tabled. 

When bringing the issue up again, Superintendent Mark Luebker, stated the rationale from the first time: a definitive need for these and to alleviate the workload for District Nurse Rachel Robinson, as she can’t be in four buildings at the same time. 

Luebker said there would be plenty of work for them to do besides health concerns in the buildings. Financially, he added they would not be eligible for benefits. He also added these aides will not be needed if the district has to shut down face-to-face and go back to virtual learning. 

Board President Brooke Kulzer opined thanks to her current job as an ER nurse, these aides are going to be busy, because two rooms are going to be needed, one for the ‘common’ ailments – stomach flu, cold, and the room for possible COVID-19 patients. 

After further discussion including whether or not the district has the money to hire more aides, board member Brian Meyer likely wrapped up the conversation best. 

“Ultimately, we need to get kids in front of teachers,” he said. “Parents want their kids in front of teachers.”

The motion for two aides (the district asked for four in last month’s meeting) was unanimously approved. 

Mandatory masks 

Luebker addressed the changes to the District’s 2020-21 reopening plan. Because of Gov. Evers’ Executive Order regarding masks, masks will now be mandatory for students and staff inside school buildings (with the exception of eating and drinking and other factors). 

“Shields could be worn in addition to masks, but it won’t meet requirements,” he continued.

WIAA approval 

The Board signed off being part of the WIAA for the 2020-21 school year. As it was stated during the meeting, due to COVID-19, girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and diving, and cross country will start practice Monday, Aug. 17, with football, boys’ soccer and volleyball, starting Monday, Sept. 7. 

Athletic Director Scott Newton said as of the meeting, Osceola looks to be playing only teams in the Middle Border Conference for football and volleyball. Football and volleyball will have shortened regular seasons, because, he added, the WIAA isn’t changing the end of season dates. 

Middle School sports will likely start on Sept. 8. 

Newton said more meetings are on tap, and plans could change again. The issue of spectator attendance will be addressed during the Aug. 19 board meeting. 

Other News 

High school Principal Adam Spiegel announced the school would be offering three lunch periods for the upcoming year to alleviate spacing issues. 

“We are going to be encouraging kids to eat outside as much as possible,” Spiegel said. 

Buildings and Grounds Director Bob Schmidt gave an update on building projects. Some of those include tuck pointing being completed at the middle school, high school should be done by this week and then they’ll be moving onto the intermediate school. Security cameras have been completed at the high school and they started last week at the middle school and this week at the intermediate school.  Lighting has been ordered at the auditorium. 

Personnel changes  

The Board accepted the retirement of Annette Viebrock as a certified aide after 23 years. Resignations were approved for Heather Gott and Lynell Hillstead, both pre-K aides; Susan Richter as a high school certified aide and Mariah Schlosser as a middle dchool certified aide. 

Dylan Ringer was hired as a high school physical education teacher and David Eichler as a middle school physical education teacher. 

Another referendum?

Prior to the Board meeting, the board along with Luebker, Business Manager Lynette Edwards and Schmidt, heard presentations from Bray Architects and from Wold and Associates. 

The presentations, explained Edwards, was after the district’s passage of the referendum last April for building projects, the district is considering another referendum, with the earliest date being April 2022, with the focus being at the elementary school, specifically for HVAC and security purposes. 

Edwards said the District has heard the issues for awhile concerning the elementary school and now are ready to address them. 

Both companies highlighted their local ties to the area, specifically Wold, as they highlighted part of the Somerset referendum.  

The winner will be announced in the Aug. 19 board meeting.

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