Some COVID-19 protocols for safe return and continuity at Atchison Public Schools were modified in accordance with the latest Center of Disease Control for recommendations regarding kindergarten through 12th-grade schools.

Board members voted unanimously after hearing a report from Dr. Renee Nugent, USD 409 Superintendent of Schools to update the district’s Isolation Guidelines. Nugent discussed the matter with board members via the Zoom platform. Board Member Sally Berger also attended the meeting via Zoom. For more information about the updates please visit the following links: USD 409 Safe Return and Continuity of Services and USD 409 Test to Stay Guidelines.

Nugent told board members said she has been anticipating a spike in positive COVID cases.

“The data shows a fast and furious spike,” Nugent said of the trend of positive cases in the district and community impacting both students and staff. She projected the trend might likely continue for another three weeks.

She presented the CDC recommendations for board members to consider and emphasized that all current guidelines and recommendations are subject to change.

Incumbent and the current sitting board members welcomed newcomer Board Member Deborah Eplee to her seat at the table. Carrie Sowers, Diane Leibsch, Sean Crittendon, and Brandi Ross were administrated their oath of office as incumbents to the Board. Eplee was administrated her initial oath.

After hearing reports, recognition, and a presentation of tokens of appreciation from students on behalf of School Board Recognition Month, board members heard public comments from Bryan Clark, school parent, and site council member, concerning the quarantine policy.

Board members officially organized for January 2022 through December 2022 school years with the unanimous re-election of President Carrie Sowers and Vice-president Diane Liebsch. Board members were appointed to serve on the following committees:

Kansas Association of School Board Governmental Relations Network representative – Liebsch; KASB Delegate Assembly representative – Berger, Liebsch to serve as alternate; Policy Committee members – Stefanie Gardner, Sean Crittendon, and Berger; Teacher of the Year Selection Committee – Gardner and Liebsch; Classified Employee of the Year Selection Committee – Liebsch and Gardner; Sick and Emergency Leave Pool Committee – Stefanie and Brandi; middle and high school athletics and activities committee – Crittendon, Berger, and Eplee; Staff Wellness Committee – Sowers and Eplee; District Wellness Committee (Food and Service Regulation) – Sowers and Eplee; Calendar Committee – Berger and Liebsch re-appointed; Chief Negotiator and Team Members to represent the district during negotiations with the Atchison National Education Association – Larry Mears to serve as chief negotiator, Sowers, Gardner, Liebsch and Principal Chad Bilderback, of the middle school.

Board members excused themselves from public sessions to go behind closed doors to discuss matters of nonelected personnel concerning matters related to nonelected personnel. The first session was for 30 minutes. A quorum of board members resumed the meeting and took action to extend the executive session for an additional five minutes. After the public meeting resumed and board members unanimously voted to take the following actions:

Accepted resignations from K-5 Art Teacher Kathy Zwahl, for purposes of retirement, effective the end of 2021-22 schoolyear, Teacher Mentor Ashley Funk, effective Dec. 17, 2021, and Shawneekia Mays, a paraeducator, effective Jan. 7, all at Atchison Elementary School; and from Christy Henthorne, an Atchison Middle School secretary/bookkeeper, effective Dec. 31, 2021.

Accepted the following recommendations for employment for the 2021-22 schoolyear: Theatre/Communications Breanna Swatzel serving the sixth-through 12th-grade students, effective Jan. 18.

Supplemental contracts were approved for: Leah Martin and Paxton Throne – First-grade lunch supervisors at AES; Beth Meitl – spelling bee sponsor and Swatzel – spring travel, both for Atchison Middle School; Second Semester Teacher Mentor Julie Ellerman; and Swatzel for dramatics, forensics, stagecraft, and drama co-sponsor all at Atchison High School.

Unanimously voted to move the March meeting date due to a conflict with it initially scheduled during the week of spring break. The new meeting date is scheduled for Monday, March 7.

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