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LUHS Board Signs Administrator Contract, Supports Mask-Optional Policy

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Claire Martin, the new interim administrator at Lakeland Union High School District, will be paid an annual salary of $140,000, according to the contract ratified Monday by the school board.

Her contract runs from Aug. 25 of this year through June 30, 2022. As a limited term employee, her fringe benefit package does not include the district paying her health insurance premiums. She will receive 32 days of paid time off, as well as the holidays off.

In other matters addressed Monday, principal Chad Gauerke outlined the “face mask optional” policy for returning students, staff and visitors. The first day of school for new students will be Wednesday, Sept. 1 with all students reporting the following day. The school will have about 800 students this year.

The 2021-22 school year will be in-person instruction five days a week except for those who choose virtual learning through Edgenuity. No full remote learning will be offered unless COVID-19 levels increase dramatically. Gauerke said face coverings may be required if COVID-19 cases increase.

The district’s reopening policy outlines the procedures for students who either test positive for COVID-19 or come in contact with such a subject.

“If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, the following guidelines apply: If symptomatic, the individual may return to school after 10 days from symptom onset. If asymptomatic, the individual may return to school 10 days after their test date.

“Quarantine protocol for vaccinated individuals: If identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, vaccinated individuals would not need to quarantine unless symptoms are present. It is recommended that fully vaccinated people get tested 3-5 days after their exposure. Vaccinated individuals will wear a mask indoors for 14 days following exposure or until their negative test result is verified by the school district.

“Quarantine protocol for unvaccinated individuals: If identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, unvaccinated individuals will need to quarantine for 10 days and can return to normal activity on day 11 with ongoing symptom monitoring required through day 14. Unvaccinated individuals can get tested 3-5 days after their exposure.  A negative test result verified by the school district will result in a quicker return to school.”

A half dozen parents and other adults objected to the requirement that a student exposed to a COVID-19 person be quarantined at home for 10 days. Some had issues with requiring students to wear masks under the protocol guidelines, as it would be discriminatory, they said.

Face coverings for all may be required if the number of COVID-19 cases either in the school or the community increases significantly, Gauerke said. Per a federal order, all riders and drivers on buses will be required to wear masks.

The principal noted that the building’s air filtration system uses ionizing to filter the air 100% every 30 minutes.

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