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Moniteau County R-1 school board makes significant change to COVID-19 policy

by Kaden Quinn | January 19, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Democrat photo/Kaden Quinn Moniteau County R-1 school board president Derek VanLoo awards CHS student Josh Hummel with his diploma.

The Moniteau County R-1 School Board has approved a change in the district's COVID-19 policy regarding length of quarantines and mask requirements.

Integrating recent Centers for Disease Control guidelines, staff and students at California schools are expected to be quarantined for 10 days if they test positive for COVID19, but they can return to the district after five days and must wear a mask throughout the next five days.

Superintendent Dwight Sanders said COVID-positive students and staff can now quarantine up to five days at home and then return to the district if they are asymptomatic or if symptoms have improved without fever.

Those returning to school are required to wear a mask for the duration of the next five days to keep the virus from potentially spreading. Symptoms must also improve without the help of medication before an individual can return.

Due to a recent increase in positive cases throughout the area, Sanders said, the district will be changing its coronavirus risk level from green to yellow. A range of 3.1-6 percent of positive cases in the school triggers the yellow level, which leads to changes in policy including that all meals will be socially distanced in the cafeteria, nonessential visitors will be limited, students and staff will be encouraged to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

According to the superintendent, it will be the goal of the district to limit the number of missed school days for students. This will be done by encouraging various measures to keep children and faculty safe and free of the coronavirus.

In other action, the board:

• Approved ballot language for the school board election. Sanders congratulated the three candidates running for the Moniteau County R-1 School Board. Current board President Derek VanLoo, board member Jeremy Burger and newcomer Ryan Porter will be vying for positions in the April 5 election.

• Approved a recommendation to increase the district's tuition rate from $7,500 to $8,000. Sanders it can be expensive to educate students, and the increase will cover costs that go to education. He said this would be a reasonable adjustment after maintaining the current rate for three years.

• Viewed a presentation from student Josh Hummel, who received his diploma through MO-Options. He told the board he hopes to work as an aircraft pilot. President VanLoo awarded Hummel with his high school diploma at the meeting.

• Accepted the resignation of registered nurse JoAnn Bestgen and wished her well as she departs from the school district. According to the board, they will be looking to occupy multiple positions in the coming year such as custodian, district registered nurse, California High School principal and assistant superintendent.

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