April 17, 2021

A little more open

PCM School Board approves no longer requiring masks for attendees at outdoor activities on the PCM school grounds

As COVID-19 numbers continue to drop and vaccination levels increase, the PCM School Board approved beginning to open up the schools a little more. The board discussed the topic during its regular meeting March 22.

“I’m really pleased to announce that we have 73 percent, I don’t have the exact number, of staff that have completed their COVID vaccines,” superintendent Michelle Havenstrite said. “I think it is time the board consider stepping back and loosen up a bit.”

At the meeting, the board approved no longer requiring masks for attendees at outdoor activities on the PCM school grounds. The change went into effect March 23.

“If you come to a track meet, there is plenty of space to spread out. If you go to a baseball game, there is plenty of space,” Havenstrite said.

Masks will still be required while indoors in all buildings by all students, staff and guests. Havenstrite explained that under the current guidance, if one person does not have a mask on and has a positive test, then all of those who were in contact with them, found through contact tracing, would have to quarantine, even if the others were wearing masks. With both people wearing masks, only those positive cases would be required to quarantine.

“The concern is about the quarantining recommendations we are still under (for keeping masks indoors),” Havenstrite said. “In schools, I can’t guarantee that I can get kids six feet apart in a classroom. I don’t want to see a senior a week from graduation having to quarantine the entire class. In the fall, when we had to quarantine kids, it was a very emotional time for me and I don’t want to have to do it again this spring.”

The district has also started to allow guests to eat lunch with students again at the elementary schools. The guests are required to check into the office and wear a mask when not at the lunch table. A table will be set aside for the students and the guests. For more information about visiting, contact the school’s office.

The board will continue to review the Return to Learn plan and COVID-19 regulations at future meetings as guidance changes and evolves.

In other business:

• Three-year mowing bids were approved for the grounds in Monroe and Prairie City. In Monroe, the bid submitted by Matt Teeter for $14,500 per year was accepted. In Prairie City, Firm Foundations was approved for $9,850 for the first two years and $10,000 for the third year. The mowing season runs approximately 26 weeks from April 15 to Oct. 15.

• Academy Roofing was approved to replace the entire Monroe Elementary roof. The more than $1.5 million project will be funded through 2021-22 PPEL/SAVE revenues.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com