By Chad Koenen
Snow days could soon be a thing of the past at the Frazee-Vergas School District.
During its regularly scheduled meeting last Monday night, the Frazee-Vergas School Board approved an E-learning plan that will be implemented during the 2021-22 school year. The E-learning plan lays out what happens if the district experiences snow days, or needs to cancel school. The E-learning days would be an alternative to having a snow day that needs to be made up at the end of the school year.
“(E-learning days will be) offered totally online and that’s a piece in the statue that we need to provide for our families. It will negate the need to make up school day as we have done in the past.”Elementary principal Travis Nagel.
Nagel said some of the details of the plan will need to be worked out between now and the start of school next year, like what happens when a family does not have access to the internet. However, the goal of E-learning days was to counter the loss of momentum being made in a classroom with unexpected days being missed at school. Through communication between teachers and parents, Nagel said “every effort will be made to get them the materials they need,” ahead of time if inclement weather is on the horizon.
As part of the K-6 plan, staff members will communicate the learning expectations using SeeSaw in kindergarten, while first through sixth graders will be using Google Classroom. Assignments will be turned in the next in-person instructional day, or electronically, depending on the teacher’s discretion.
For the high schoolers, the school board heard from high school principal Anna Potvin and two staff members about the E-learning plans for the high school next year. Potvin said the 7-12 teachers will continue to post their weekly plans and information each week, so if a student needs to be home for an extended period of time, they can continue to stay caught up on work. In the event of inclement weather, students will already know where to find their assignments and can get a jumpstart on their homework.
For the high school level, students will be required to log in for attendance by emailing their advisory teacher no later than 9 a.m. Additionally, student’s will log into Google Classroom for each of their classes to find and complete assigned tasks for the day. The work will need to be posted in Google Classroom no later than 9 a.m. the next day and accommodations will be made for students without internet access.
When asked by school board members about how distance learning has worked for students since the COVID-19 pandemic, high school science teacher Tavia Bachmann said it depends on each student. Some students have done well and stayed on top of their work at home, while others have struggled to get their work done on time.
The district is planning to offer no more than five e-learning days per year due to inclement weather without making up the days at the end of the school year. In the event more than five snow days are needed the additional days will be made up like they have in the past.
Extra-curricular activities will also be canceled if an E-learning day is needed due to inclement weather, just as it would be when school is dismissed early or canceled.
In other news
• Heard an update from the winter sports season from Activities Director Nick Courneya. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, Courneya said the district didn’t see a big drop in activity participation numbers over years past.
• Approved the hiring of Amber Oelfke as a part-time paraprofessional, Pam Fiebelkorn as latch key aide and the resignation of Nicole Kohler as latch key aide.
• Approved the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Frazee to address the current land parcel adjustments. Frazee-Vergas School Superintendent Karger said the goal is to clarify the current land parcels between the City of Frazee and Frazee-Vergas School District.
• Approved the elementary school topographic survey bid to Mead and Hunt, Inc. for $3,200. The district received three bids for the project.
• Approved the Capital Outlay Plan for Fiscal Year 2022. Some of the projects on the plan include: a high jump pad for $10,000, athletic uniforms for $12,000, bleacher work for $4,500, two vacuums for $1,500, a salt spreader for $2,000, elementary landscaping on the playground hill for $8,000, miscellaneous landscaping at the elementary school for $2,000 and cement work for two projects for $7,000.
• Approved the Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Plan for Fiscal Year 2022. Some of the projects in the plan include: $51,000 for the elementary and high school brickwork, $37,750 for field three softball fencing, $47,500 for a football scoreboard and $10,000 for dugout renovations.