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The Hiawatha School District is working with the company that installed the track to take care of bubbles that have occurred due to water draining on the track.

The Hiawatha School Board met with representatives from Beynon Track at Monday night’s meeting and came to a resolution concerning bubbles that have developed on the new high school track.

The Hiawatha school district has been addressing issues of bubbles that had formed along the surface of the track, which was completed in 2018 at a price tag of approximately $900,000. District officials contacted the track company and asked them to fix the problem, but company representatives pointed fingers at drainage issues and had previously said they would not complete any repair work until these issues are resolved.

Contractors suggested installing large box drains along the visitors side of the stadium to divert water from going onto the track. This could carry a price tag of $35,000 to $50,000. However, the district contacted a local soil conservationist, who provided information of drainage work that could be completed at a much lower price.

At Monday’s meeting, two representatives from the track company attended and while they still recommended taking care of some drainage issues said the company wanted a happy customer and would repair the spots where the bubbles had occurred at no charge. The repair would include cutting out areas of the track surface where bubbles had occurred and installing a moisture barrier underlayment in those areas, then resurfacing.

The representatives told the board members that this moisture barrier was part of the initial bid at $90,000 but was not included in the overall project. They told school board members that water vapor rises from the concrete and can create these bubbles when the sun hits the track. The bubbles are not always there, depending on temperature and sun they disappear.

Beynon representatives also advised the district look further into drainage proposals to keep water from flowing onto the track.

Temperatures need to be steadily into the 50s and toward 60 before work can be completed, which they estimated would take about a week to complete.

In other business:

Board members also heard updated health reports from hospital and school health officials. HCH provider Jodi Twombly told the board members the hospital currently has two hospitalized COVID patients and as of Monday there were 37 active cases in the county. She said they have been seeing 10-18 patients daily at the COVID clinic.

She also said that 75 percent of the employees had received the Pfizer COVID vaccination and their goal is to have more than 80 percent take it. She said it is not a requirement, but most employees are leaning toward taking the vaccine, which comes in a set of two shots about three weeks apart.

Twombly said they are still learning more about the Coronavirus everyday and said there is not a full understanding of why one patient can contract very severe symptoms while another patient may have no symptoms. Recently a young patient became very severely ill with liver failure due to COVID and has since mostly recovered. Twombly said she could not give specifics due to HIPPA, but noted this reaction was certainly not common among children.

District nurses reported the COVID related situations at the schools were in fairly good shape with three positive cases each at the elementary and middle and one at the high school. District Nurse Erin Wenger said there were 34 students in quarantine at the high school that impacted a sports team.

Superintendent Lonnie Moser said the girls basketball team was quarantined this week, however boys teams would be playing. HHS Principal Lori Fordyce anticipated the girls team would be back in action by next Tuesday.

The nurses said they felt the new quarantine protocol was helping, although it was noted by Twombly that testing at the state sites were taking a long time to be returned and some patients were still having to quarantine the full 14 days — rather than being released from isolation on Day 8 if tested on Day 6 with no symptoms.

District Maintenance Director Chris Morey told the board that he was moving forward on plans for work on the elementary school parking lot. He said the high school drafting class was drawing up specifications, which he would bring to the board at next month’s meeting. They suggested he contact the county sooner rather than later to make sure they can get in on summer chip and seal projects.

Board member Ian Schuetz said he had received parent feedback about a need for a separate entrance into the parking lot, rather than following the curved drive and circling back into the lot.

There was discussion on attendance for sporting events per guidelines as issued by KSHSAA. According to the current guidelines, only two fans are allowed for each player, coach, etc. Fordyce said they plan to follow this through the entire girls tournament, even though it expires Jan. 28, to make sure there is no confusion. It is not known whether KSHSAA will extend this protocol beyond that date.

There has been some negative feedback, as community members are not allowed to attend games, but Fordyce said they have partnered with Rainbow Communications to livestream these events.

Superintendent Moser reported that they board would get back to long-range facility planning in March. He also discussed focusing on learning plans for the district and looking at ways to make up those lost days, noting that assessments were missed last spring so that data was not available in order to perceive learning needs.

He also told the board members the district received $734,000 as part of the new national stimulus package and the goal is to utilize that money for educational purposes — potentially extra days of learning that could include summer. In addition he said the funding would be useful for air quality equipment and more technical services to replace computers and iPads.

A portion of the funds received from the first stimulus package were still being held in reserves for those needs as well.

The board also reviewed and approved the proposed changes to the Return to Learn plan for the current academic year.

Following an Executive Session, the board voted to hire Brady Mulligan and Sherri Nelson as middle school track coaches and Macey Entrikin as an elementary para.

Board President Tom Simmer presented district nurses Erin Wenger and Whitney McCauley with letters of recognition for going above and beyond this past school year with the extra duties encumbered upon them due to COVID. The two nominated by a parent for this honor.

Board member Andrea Groth was appointed to take Jeff Brockhoff’s position on the Special Education Interlocal board and Brockhoff would transfer to fill the remaining position of Tom Simmer.

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