FAIRBANK — The Wapsie Valley School District Board of Directors held three successive sessions on Monday evening. Members participated via the Google Meeting forum from the WV High School Media Center and their private residences in light of COVID concerns.

The first session – the Annual Meeting of the Retiring Board — commenced at 6:30 pm and lasted only 15 minutes. After opening preliminaries, the Board received public comments, accepted the FY 2020 Financial Report, approved minutes from the October 19 meeting, and then adjourned.

The next session – the Organizational Meeting of the Board for the 2019-2020 Year – was a brief 10-minute meeting. Board elections were held. Brent Sauerbrei and Jeannie Wolfe were reelected to the president and vice-president offices, respectively.

The third session – the Regular Meeting — commenced at approximately 6:51 pm. After opening preliminaries, approval of the agenda, and receipt of public comments, the Board received communications and reports from board members and school administrative staff members.

The bulk of the discussion centered on the reports from McKayla Bellis, the school nurse, and members regarding how the district should move forward during the present COVID pandemic.

Nurse Bellis briefed those present on the status of students who were absent due to the virus. As of the last evening, the number stood at 4% for the whole district. That number includes students who are active cases and others who are voluntarily self-quarantining at home due to being suspected of being exposed to someone with the virus.

Board and staff members discussed various options to be pursued should the virus spread become worse. Right now, the discussions only dealt with possible scenarios that might develop.

Superintendent David Larson stated, “It is my intention to keep students on-site as much as possible.”

Members discussed the critical issue of maintaining the teacher-to-student ratio. The school board and administrative staff hope that absenteeism among the teaching staff can be kept minimal. They urge everyone in the community to comply with general medical guidelines regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing to slow the spread. If teacher absenteeism should become a critical issue, it will directly impact the schools’ ability to carry on their educational goals.

The group received reports from school principals – Timothy ‘TJ’ Murphy, grades 7-12; and Dana Harskamp, grades PK-6. These reports focused on the effectiveness of instruction supplied to students and the effort to provide support and intervention where needed to aid students who were experiencing difficulties.

Future scheduled meetings can be found at the district website: www.wapsievalleyschools.com or by calling the district office (319) 638-6711.