Menahga Superintendent Kevin Wellen recovered from his bout with COVID-19.

He was cleared to be back to work on Aug. 10 after being without a fever for more than five days, “but for everyone’s safety,” he said he minimized his interactions and worked from home for “significant portions of each day.”

“Good news is no one in the school district tested positive that was exposed to me,” he reported at the Aug. 17 Menahga School Board meeting.

School administrators said they believe the data will allow in-person learning for students willing to wear face masks or a face shield, as is required by the state.

In his board report, Wellen noted that this can be waived or accommodated based on a doctor’s medical exemption. “Students not wearing masks will be expected to attend virtually or via distance learning,” he wrote.

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Board chair Andrea Haverinen noted that the Minnesota School Board Association sent a model face mask policy to districts.

“If we put anything into policy, then we also have to take it out,” Haverinen said, if for example, the governor’s executive order should change.

The board opted to take no action, since a face mask is required by state law.

“We are a government entity taking government funding, we have to treat (face masks) as required,” Wellen said, calling it a condition of students returning to school.

A special school board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31 to review the final reopening plan.

In other business, the school board did as follows:

  • Learned that Julia Kicker and Bob White will seek reelection to the school board, but one opening remains. Wellen recommended persuading a good candidate to be a write-in.

  • Accepted resignations from Don Donarski, athletic director/community ed director, effective Aug. 10; Kara Kahle, substitute teacher, effective Aug. 10; Danielle Phillips, cook, effective July 31, and Nichole Huotari, paraprofessional, effective Aug. 17. The board agreed to a short-term delay before seeking a new athletic director.

  • Directed administration to develop a salary proration for coaches if a season is shortened or cancelled.

  • Approved a contract with Edwin Heltunen, business ed teacher, beginning with the 2020-21 school year, contingent upon licensure and successful background check.

  • Approved PSEO agreements with Alexandria Technical and Community College, M State, and U of M Crookston for the 2020-21 school year.

  • Approved lane change requests for Tim Wurdock, Kami Johnson, Keylee Schoon and Shelly Hamblin.