The Grantsburg School District will be providing voluntary COVID-19 testing this year through the WI DHS COVID-19 Testing Program. It was approved at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 23, after Superintendent Joshua Watt and district nurse Kayla Bistram gave the board members a little more information on the program.
The testing will be available to students, staff, and family members of students that live in their household. This testing is also free for them. Watt explained that the testing will take place in a 10x10 kiosk that the COVID clinic will set up, at no charge to the school. This makes it so that those that are not feeling well will not have to physically go into the school to be tested.
“In the winter, however, when we have subzero days, we would have to find places inside of the schools for them to test- and that is something that the principals and I, and Kayla, are going to work through.”
Watt went on to explain that these kiosks will be staffed with the technicians who will be providing the testing from the COVID clinic, and the district can choose how frequently they want the kiosk to be staffed, and even how many kiosks they want placed.
“We can have a kiosk at all of our schools, just to help out with the flow, we can have just one designated area. They’ll staff it as much as we want, it’s pretty flexible, it’s up to us how much we want to take advantage of it.”
Board president Dave Dahlberg asked, “Let’s take an extreme - we have four kiosks with four buildings, including Nelson, staffed 8-4:30, is that paid for by the state?”
“I believe it’s federal funding,” Watt replied. He told the board that there is no cost to the school for using this service. “And again, it’s voluntary, and parents have to give consent. We’re not using it as a ‘you’re sick, you must do this,’ or something like that, it’s just an option.”
Watt went on to clarify the need, “This would be a convenience for our families, and I guess that’s for me, how I envision us using it - as much or as little as we want, and just a way to serve the community.”
Bistram’s role in the program would just to be the liaison between the company and the district as well as to receive consent from the parents for the students. Bistram chimed in and said, “Also, they offered too, if we only had them here a couple days a week, on the off days they are looking into setting up PCR saliva testing kits so that I can watch a student, a staff member, whoever, I’d watch the collection of the sample, call for the courier, they’d come pick it up, bring it back for testing in the lab and then follow up with the results.”
She also told the board about another service that they provide.
“If someone were to become ill or symptomatic over the weekend, or wake up not feeling well, versus having their child ride the bus to school, they would send staff out, with consent obviously, to the household, test whoever wanted to be tested, and then bring the results back to be tested, so that they are not potentially affecting anybody else on the bus,” Bistram added.
Bistram said she believes that this program will be a good extra attempt to help keep the positive cases at a minimum and out of the school.
Dahlberg asked that if they have a student in school that begins to start not feeling well, will it be their suggestion that the student go receive the test as a precaution, but not mandate it? Bistram said they will strongly encourage it, yes. But there will be no mandating the testing service.
Board member Chris Erickson was the first to make the motion to approve the COVID-19 testing program but said that she believed it should be up to Watt, Bistram, and the school principals to decide how many kiosks and how many days they should be staffed. The reasoning being that they are the most aware of the day-by-day needs in their schools. Member Russ Erickson seconded, and the motion was passed, leaving it up to the principals, Watt and Bistram to make the decision on the Kiosks and staffing.
In other items
• The varsity baseball field is going to get some outfield repair this fall to get ready for their season this spring. The scope of the work includes adding irrigation into the outfield, adding drain tile off the first and third base lines, removing the skinned infield lip and adding it to the base and recutting and rebuilding the field edge of the warning track and adding it to the base. This work will be done by Beck’s Sports Turf Specialists - they were the only company to put in a bid for the work.