Okoboji School Board Approves Return To Learn Plan On 3-2 Vote
(Milford)-- The Okoboji School Board Wednesday evening approved the district's “Return to Learn” plan at 100 percent capacity and highly recommends students wear face masks. The plan was approved on a three-to-two vote, with board members Juli Johnson and Tracy Evans voting no. They were in favor of a version recommended by an administrative and teacher committee that would have required face masks in some instances, such as in hallways, on buses, and any time when social distancing wouldn't be possible.
Other components of the plan include rearranging classrooms to increase distance between students, including in cafeterias; limiting visitors in buildings to essential only; no field trips; practicing good hygiene practices with sanitizing stations strategically located in the school buildings; and not allowing students to congregate in hallways and common areas, among other things.
Superintendent Todd Abrahamson says the policies were arrived at after a lot of intense discussions...
"I guess what I really want to say is that I appreciate the admin team, the teacher leaders and the school board, everyone involved. It's very difficult decision times and even though the two members that voted no, they understand moving forward. They're fine with it, it's just the reality is there's not a perfect solution or a perfect answer and we all left the table saying, and you heard throughout the evening, whatever's decided we're a team, we'll ensure the safety of our students, staff, or community, or parents."
Abrahamson says a shortage of guidance from the state and federal levels added to the challenge...
"These are unprecedented times and these are decisions that we're really not prepared for. We're educators. We're not scientists, we're not doctors, but yet every school board and district across Iowa and the country has had to make these decisions."
And when it comes to cleaning and personal protective equipment, Abrahamson says he's confident the district has enough to adequately get through atleast the first semester of the school year...
"We're constantly talking to our vendors on additional orders. The big thing is that timeline on delivery. There's certain things that you can get in a timely manner and certain things that you can't. And we continue to work with that, with those vendors. But again you heard that discussion tonight about our supplies but right now I'm very confident in what we have now and continue to work with our vendors to continue to make sure those supplies are coming in."
School starts in the Okoboji district August 24th.