Sioux City school board to consider allowing superintendent to implement mask requirements

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 1:48 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Leaders for the Sioux City Community School District are expected to discuss possibly giving the superintendent the ability to implement mask requirements.

According to a district spokesperson, on Jan. 24 the school board will consider revising AR907, a code that outlines how the public school district will operate during public emergencies. The possible revision, if made, would allow Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman, or his designee, to implement face mask requirements on a time-limited basis. The masking requirement could be implemented for the entire district or be for individual buildings.

The district spokesperson says these changes are being considered as the district has only 79% of its teaching spots filled while other staff positions, such as bus drivers and food service employees, are only filled at 63.5%. Additionally, the measures would be a way to mitigate COVID-19 among current students and staff.

“And so we’re making it work. But that’s not to say, we are not in what I would call a crisis situation. This is as challenging of a time of filling open positions for illness than I have ever witnessed, in my years as a superintendent of schools,” said Dr. Gausman.

AR907 was originally approved at the start of the 2020 school year to address operations during a public health emergency. In its current form, the code allows the superintendent, with the approval of state government agencies, to determine under what conditions the district will restrict or cancel in-person learning, student events or extracurricular activities like clubs and sports. It also outlines several other operations and guidelines the district will follow, which can be read here.

“There’s a lot of stuff going around. I think that’s impacted our buildings quite a bit this these past couple of weeks, probably more so than other weeks of the school year,” said Dr. Jen Gomez, SCCSD’s director of human resources.

The Human Resources Director for the District says about 20 permanent substitute teaching jobs are still open. The district is interviewing candidates for those positions as of Jan. 19, but none have been filled so far.

If you want to become a substitute teacher, the Northwest Area Education Agency is hosting a class starting on Jan. 27. It’ll be held via Zoom for five nights, with three hours of instruction each night.

Participants will learn ethics, classroom management and instructional strategies. The course covers one of the requirements for becoming a substitute. Other requirements include at least 60 hours of college credits or more and an applicant must be at least 21 years old.

If you’d like to get more information on the class and how to register, follow this link.

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