ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth School Board held a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 16 to vote on the Ellsworth Community School District Safe Return to School plan for the 2021-22 school year. The …
ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth School Board held a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 16 to vote on the Ellsworth Community School District Safe Return to School plan for the 2021-22 school year. The board voted 6-0 in favor of approving the Safe Return to School for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Ellsworth Community School District students will be mandated by the Centers for Disease Control to wear masks on school buses; however, masks will be options for all students and staff within school district buildings. The mandate for masks on school buses follows current CDC guidance nationwide for masks to be worn on all public transportation services.
Superintendent Barry Cain spoke on the beginning of the year approach the school board and administration are taking in regards to COVID-19 concerns.
“The way we're approaching this, when we put this plan in place, understanding that the administration may have a need to make adjustments to the plan, emergency situations that arise, obviously longer-term situations, we would need board involvement if something major happens,” Cain said. “We would have to make a change for a short period of time and also understand that mask mandates need to be modified.”
Social distancing will also be applied to classrooms for all grade levels. The plan is to have all desks three feet apart in classrooms while still maintaining maximum capacity for all students within each classroom. Social distancing and pod assignments will also remain in place for Ellsworth Middle School and High School students within their cafeterias, while social distancing will not be in place for elementary school students in their cafeteria.
ECSD will continue to adhere to strict handwashing and respiratory etiquette for all students and staff that was implemented in last year’s school plans. The safe return to school plan ensures that extra time will be given for handwashing for everyone within ESCD buildings and sanitization stations will be placed throughout all buildings.
Hiring and resignation
The school board announced one new hire and one resignation for the district. Bailey Wilson was hired as the Ellsworth High School Spanish intern. The board said Wilson will be a great hire for the high school as finding teachers to teach Spanish has been a challenge in recent years. Nicole Pizza, an Ellsworth Elementary School teaching assistant, announced her resignation to the board the previous week.
Although public comment was not on the agenda due to the public hearing the week before, one woman interrupted the meeting asking a question which had been answered in discussions made between the board on mask-wearing on buses. Board members had said that bus drivers will ask for children riding the buses to have their masks on if they’re not wearing them, tell them why it is important to do so, but will not force children off school buses if they refuse to wear a mask.