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WB to resume public meetings

BELOIT – The West Branch school board will begin allowing the public to attend meetings again next month.

The board agreed last week to move their meetings to the high school auditorium to allow community members to attend in-person while practicing social distancing. The meetings will also continue to be livestreamed on the district Facebook page.

Acting Superintendent Micki Egli reported the state house bill regarding virtual meetings has been extended from the original Dec. 31 limit to July 1. However, the bill includes a clause that states effective Nov. 17 government meetings, including school boards, are not restricted by the 10-person mass gathering rule. She said if the board holds meetings in the auditorium, 120 people can attend while practicing social distancing.

Boardmember Mikki Kanagy said she is concerned with people entering the building, requiring more cleaning, but board President Courtney Stryffeler said the meetings had only been closed to the public because of the executive order, and said the meetings should be open again if permitted.

Stryffeler said if the janitorial staff has to clean after the school board members meet, then it does not make a difference if the public attends.

Also at the meeting, Egli reported a safety tip line is being established for students to anonymously report issues and concerns to district administrators.

Egli said the tip line is available through the current phone system. Students can call in to the tip line to ask for help or report information and will be provided a code number to call back to check on the status of the report. Administrators can respond to the code by voicemail message.

Egli said the district will receive posters displaying tip line information that will be distributed at each of the district’s buildings. The tip line information will also be promoted by the guidance counselors and posted on the district’s website.

Additionally, Egli reported calamity days will no longer be reported via radio stations. She said reporting is more timely through television stations, district one calls and social media.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 in the auditorium, preceded by a work session at 5:30 p.m. The public will be allowed to attend and the meeting will also be livestreamed on the district’s Facebook page.

khowell@salemnews.net

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