Thursday, September 23, 2021

News from around the area - a big item out of EVW

Here's a snap shot of news items from area school published in their respective local newspapers. All very interesting!

*Update: a bomb threat was emailed to the Osakis school district this morning. They evacuated the buildings and are investigating. Really crazy to see that happening. Please pray for the Osakis school staff, students and families and hope that they learn what happened.

From the Eden Valley-Watkins Voice
The superintendent at EV-W included in his school board report this month that his staff saw a dramatic increase in anxiety-related issues with kids in the first week of school. He didn't have much detail (at least what was printed in the story) but in attempt to at least spitball what he felt was going on, he said many kids have anxiety over being in school now five days a week after a year of all the disruptions, dramatic changes to how they could interact with one another plus the every-other-day scheduling that they went through last year.

I highly doubt that issue is specific to EV-W, so please don't take this item as suggesting that they have a unique issue based on something that only they have done. In fact, studies are showing that anxiety-related problems with children increased by dramatic and disturbing levels over the last year-and-a-half since schools across the U.S. were closed for various lengths of time. How do you un-do the harm inflicted on a child by anxiety-related issues? Anyone out there have any bright ideas?

This next item I've learned wasn't in the newspaper, but I heard the information from a school board member in the Sauk Centre school district. I have known this school board member for a "long, long time" and trust them implicitly. I can't share many details, but basically, they shared that a high school teacher in Sauk Centre took it upon themselves to lecture his/her class on getting the COVID vaccine...then...then...wait for it...then decided in his/her rotten mind that they needed to say, "But please don't let your parents know we talked about this."

Upon saying that last part to the class, the best next course of action would be to set your ID badge on your desk, walk straight out to your car, drive away and never come back. That's my view! I mean, seriously! Talk about anxiety issues. That teacher needs to get their head examined by multiple professionals.

What was published in this week's Sauk Centre Herald was interesting. On their front page, a story about student illnesses was published that said in the first three weeks of school, 114 of roughly 1,000 K-12 students had been out of school due to illness. Only 13 of the 114 were COVID cases, while the rest consisted of colds, flus and strep throat. I've written about "immunity debt" in my newspaper recently, and the one thing I'll say here is that if nothing else - Sauk Centre is erasing a big chunk of immunity debt that seems to have built up in that community. Immunity debt is a difficult burden to overcome for children and adults. I found this article useful to explain what this all means =

(Google it if you want to know more on that.)

From the Dawson Sentinel:
At Dawson-Boyd schools, they are facing a severe paraprofessional shortage. It is severely impacting their special education department, according to what was published in the newspaper in the Sentinel's September 22 issue. Superintendent David Hansen also mentioned that the labor shortage is affecting their janitorial staff. In terms of the para shortage, he stated that Dawson-Boyd is short by three paras in the high school and four in the elementary school. To give that a little perspective, Dawson-Boyd is similar in school enrollment to B-B-E, although perhaps a bit smaller. Dawson-Boyd's grades 9-12 enrollment given by the MSHSL is 160, while at B-B-E that figure is 182. A shortage of paras at that level would be also difficult at B-B-E. We are extremely blessed to have the workforce we do at B-B-E across all areas of staffing.

The last item I have to share before getting to other tasks for today is that at the MACCRAY school district, "no news is good news" - and that's something they should be very happy about there. At MACCRAY, they have been in school for this 2021-2022 year longer than anyone else in central Minnesota. Just like B-B-E did last year, the MACCRAY school started the year earlier than usual because of an upcoming major building project. They have a huge project coming in 2022. Anyway, to my point...this week's Clara City Herald newspaper had nothing of interest related to COVID and their school. They have been plodding along diligently with full-time, in-person school without a mask mandate for staff or students. 

MACCRAY had 12 days of school completed by the time Labor Day weekend arrived. On the night that the B-B-E Jaguars volleyball team traveled to MACCRAY high school, their students already had 11 days of school completed. They have had no major COVID issues to speak of. Could that change? Of course it could. But as of today, the MACCRAY school has completed 22 days of school on their four-day week model. That equates to 14.8% of the whole school year. By the weekend that figure will be over 16% of the school year. They are cruising along.

I tip my hat to the MACCRAY district!