BB School Board Discusses COVID-19–Goal Remains to Keep Kids in School

BROKEN BOW—Students at Broken Bow Public Schools have been back to in-person learning this year for about the last two months and the Board of Education agrees: things seem to be working.

During the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, October 19, Superintendent Darren Tobey said masks are still required for students and staff during the school day.

“The goal is to keep kids in school,” Gerald Pirnie said with other board members agreeing that things seem to be working well but everyone needs to be flexible.

Mr. Tobey said anywhere between 10 and 20 students have been in quarantine on a consistent basis but that the school has only seen a total of five coronavirus cases for students (at least one positive case at a time for two-straight months). He said fall break was extended by one day (Wednesday, October 21) in order to allow for an extra day of getting kids out of the building, distancing, and cleaning/disinfecting the schools. Parent-teacher conferences will be held virtually.

The superintendent said he realizes students may gather together during fall break but he said it is better than a school full of students being together. Mr. Tobey said there are no plans to switch to hybrid learning at this time.

“Anytime that maybe we can steal an extra day to get the kids out of the building and of course get them away from each other because whether they’re in a group of four or five kids on a non-school day, we can’t get them away from 20 kids consecutively all day long. It just isn’t feasible here,” Mr. Tobey continued. “So anytime that we could put a day in that we could get them out of the building, help our janitors disinfect the building a little bit more, those types of things we’re going to look at.”

The school board approved the treasurer’s and claims report with Treasurer J.B. Atkins saying the district saw about $2 million in revenue the last month. It was also stated the new track is completed and the preschool project is going well so far.

Board President Tom Osmond and the rest of the board congratulated the girls golf team and all the work it takes to become state champions! Mr. Tobey said it has been a fun fall for athletics and hopes to keep the momentum going. He gave a shout out to boys cross country, girls golf, football, and volleyball.

If Broken Bow hosts volleyball or any other indoor activities in the near future, the district will have to comply with the recent changes to state Directed Health Measures. This includes limiting indoor event capacity to 50%–which would be 750 people in the Broken Bow main gym. Masks are strongly encouraged at extracurricular events.

Also on Monday night, the school board approved the sale of a Buick Century for $400, the negotiations committee of Tom Osmond, J.B. Atkins, and Tim Chancellor, and approved the hiring of new science teacher Rachelle Kruml to begin in January. Mr. Tobey is awaiting the signed contract.

Mr. Tobey announced that the audit report will take place during the next work session and that superintendent evaluations are coming up. As part of a federal COVID-19 response effort, students will be able to receive free breakfast and lunch through the rest of the school year.

The November work session will be held on Monday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. and the next regular school board meeting will be on Monday, November 16 also at 7:30 p.m.