School board discusses a year of COVID protocols

Friday, March 19, 2021

D was discussed at the March 15th Alta-Aurelia School Board meeting. “We are exactly one year removed now in COVID,” Superintendent William Walters said. “It was a year ago, and so much has happened between now and then. It’s been a challenge that I think our staff has risen to, and our kids have been in school all year, and that’s really good,” he said.

“I’m proud of our district and how we handled it. So many schools, some just got back late January, some early February. They haven’t been in very long and they’re going to be done,” Walters said.

As far as vaccinations, the staff in Alta will receive their 2nd shots on March 19th. School staff in Aurelia received their 2nd shots last week. “Everybody will be pretty well covered by Friday,” Walters said, adding that a few staff members did not get the shot.

Masks have been required in school since the beginning of the school year and there are no plans to suspend that requirement. Walters is aware that students are getting to where the weather is nice and they are fatigued with mask wearing. “But they are doing the best that they can and our staff continues to be diligent, trying to keep our kids safe and doing the right thing with this,” he said.

Coach Grant Peckenschneider said that for the upcoming track season, there probably will not be a mask requirement at meets, although some changes will need to be adhered to. Examples are that athletes will need to retrieve their own implements when they throw them, and there might be a sanitation station at the finish line after they hand off the batons.

In budget matters, payments to substitute teachers is in the normal range this school year, and COVID money is being used for COVID subs. Most of the first round of COVID funding was spent on technology hotspots, computers, summer school that took place before the school year began, protective shields, sanitizers and other COVID-related equipment.

In other school board news -

Alta Elementary School celebrated National Cereal Day on March 7th. “We had lots of fun with that,” Principal Stacy Mueller said. More than 1,000 boxes of cereal was donated, 750 boxes of which was donated by HyVee stores in Cherokee and Storm Lake. All the cereal was donated to the Alta-Aurelia School Backpack Program and is greatly appreciated, she said.

Summer maintenance projects have been scheduled. The boiler in Alta that was approved is planned for installation in June, and another portion of roof will be repaired at the Aurelia building to be done by the end of summer at a cost of about $17,000. In addition, locker rooms in Aurelia will be updated.

For the high school prom, scheduled for April 24th, there will be a grand march and a meal.

Free lunches will be continued through summer.