Todd Fiske photo

Todd Fiske.

ELK CITY — “We’re doing everything we can to keep kids in school,” Mountain View School District 244 Superintendent Todd Fiske said at the Sept. 20 board meeting in Elk City.

Fiske mentioned many surrounding schools having to shut down due to more COVID-19 illness in students, as well as staff. This includes temporary closures in Kamiah and Riggins, and a large-scale closure in St. Maries.

Fiske cited GEMS (Grangeville Elementary Middle School) had seen as many as 55 students absent at once recently, while CVES (Clearwater Valley Elementary School) had seen about 30 absences.

“At CV, it seems to have been the stomach flu, and I think we’re turning a corner on that now,” principal Joe Rodriguez commented.

Fiske also discussed the fact “there are almost no substitutes.” This makes for staff rearranging and shuffling when anyone is ill or needs to be gone and leaves little room for teacher absences.

“Keeping up digitally is important, too,” he said. “We want teachers and staff, students and parents to all be prepared for the ‘just in case,’ which could happen at a moment’s notice.”

He spoke briefly about a new web site with a new app portion that will allow for better communication when and if events occur, good or bad.

“This will help with regular communication and updates, as well as for any emergency notices or closures for any reason,” he said.

Rodriguez, wearing his district technology coordinator hat, also added the school’s meal program menu through Chartwells, will soon be offered only in digital format and not printed out and sent home with each student.

“This may not be how everyone wants to view it,” he said, but it will take less manpower and paper, “and it will be much more efficient when food services need to change or update an offering on the menu.”

“Yes, and our web page has been pretty archaic, and this new system will allow for new, updated sites for the district and each school,” Fiske said. “This gets us into the 21st century.”

Fiske also reported the updates in the air filtration systems are nearly complete in Kooskia schools, thanks to COVID funds, and work will soon move on to Grangeville schools.

“This turned into quite an extensive project,” he said. “I don’t think the systems had been touched in five decades. With the amounts of debris and dust that came out — well, I’m surprised there has not been a serious fire.”

He said the new systems include wall thermostats and remote controls that will allow teachers to control room temperatures, within set limits.

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