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Northland Pines Updates COVID-19 Protocols, Limited Public Use of Facilities Returns

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

After one year of the COVID pandemic ending public use of Northland Pines school facilities, limited use will be returned according to a report by administer Scott Foster to the school board last week.

“Right now we are allowing walking in the fieldhouse along with pickelball and tennis returning in a limited manner,” Foster said. “One issue that needs attention of the board is Headwaters for the Performing Arts presentations in the fieldhouse because they need to start booking events.”

While board members agree the events are a wonderful addition to the community they also wanted to be sure proper COVID protocol is followed, including masks and social distance.

Board president David Weber indicated his thoughts. “Most of us agree we won’t be back to full auditorium use by the fall and occupancy restrictions greatly reduces revenue for the performances.”

Board discussion centered on safety and space restrictions and in the end the board adopted a motion to allow Headwaters to book performances with current capacity restrictions but to revisit the issue in June but no later than mid-July.

Trips cancelled 

The elementary student trip to Madison this spring has been canceled along with New York and the planned trip to Germany in 2022 is also canceled.

“It’s unfortunate for the German trip because students really learn from it,” Weber said. “It really came down to all the unknown safety issues and the impact of the pandemic.”

The amount of effort that goes into planning the German trip was recognized by the board and they urged German teacher Kristina Stuber to start planning for 2023.

COVID update

Administrator Foster brought the board up to date on the impact of the pandemic on school operations.

“We had three positive cases last week but as of today (2-22) we are back to zero and the number of kids out continues to drop,” he said. “We’ve gone from 63 to the teens and attendance is improving. Overall we’ve had 92 positive tests that we know of.”

The district has gone over 100 days without shutting down. “We’ve shut some classrooms down but no grades or any schools were closed.”

Foster was told starting March 1 teachers will be eligible to get vaccinated indicating he envisioned about a six week process for all staff, teachers, buss drivers, and cooks.

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