NCPS approves illness protocols

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

The Nebraska City Public Schools board of education passed illness protocols for the 2021-2022 school year during its regular monthly meeting on Sept. 13.

The protocols, which the board will review on an as-needed basis throughout the school year, call for masks to be worn by students and staff for three calendar weeks if an 11 percent illness-related absentee rate is in effect in any of the school buildings.

For any of the buildings to reach an 11 percent absentee rate, 43 or more students would have to be absent from Northside Elementary, 32 or more from Hayward Elementary, 36 or more from Nebraska City Middle School, and 50 or more from Nebraska City High School.

An 11 percent absentee rate among staff would result in mandatory mask requirements as well.

If an 18 percent illness-related absentee rate is recorded, the protocols call for the addition of a 24- to 72-hour shutdown of a building to deep clean the facility in addition to the mandatory mask requirements.

For any of the buildings to reach an 18 percent absentee rate, 70 or more Northside students would be out of school, 52 or more Hayward students would have to be absent, 59 or more students would have to be absent from Nebraska City Middle School, and 82 or more Nebraska City High School students would have to be absent.

An 18 percent absentee rate among staff would also result in the closure and deep-cleaning measures.

Board members Stacie Higgins and Teri Stukenholtz said that the board’s goal is to keep the schools open and to keep students in school.

Stukenholtz said that the Nebraska Department of Education will not be forgiving time for days lost to COVID during the current school year, and that a longer school year may be possible, depending on how the pandemic continues.

NCPS Superintendent Mark Fritch said the board’s passing of the protocols is a proactive measure that allows the district to have a plan in place in the event case counts increase.

During the meeting, the board also

Approved replacing two pumps on the cooling tower at Hayward Elementary for a cost not to exceed $35,000, which would be paid for with ESSERS II funds;

Approved replacing the HVAC unit in the Nebraska City High School Auditorium for a cost not to exceed $35,000; and

Approved hiring an energy consultant and a roofing consultant to help the district with future planning.

The next regularly scheduled Nebraska City Public Schools board of education meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11 in the boardroom of the Nebraska City Public Schools central office, 1700 14th Ave.