Trustees for Joint School District 171 met in person at the Orofino Junior/Senior High School cafeteria, virtually on Zoom, and on YouTube for their regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 19.

The audio for those attending virtually was much improved, as adjustments are continually being made for Zoom meetings.

In the effort to accurately report the number of Covid cases vs. the number quarantined, Dr. Michael Garrett, Superintendent, separated the numbers into three categories, the number of positive cases, the number awaiting test results, and the number quarantined due to exposure to Covid.

The numbers change from day to day and are sometimes confusing to decipher.

As of Monday night, at OJSHS four tested positive for Covid, one of those is a staff member. Four are awaiting test results and six are quarantined due to exposure (two of those are staff members).

At Orofino Elementary School, one student has tested positive for Covid and 34 students are quarantined due to exposure.

OJSHS and OES will remain in the yellow phase for the next two weeks.

Though there have been no confirmed Covid cases, Timberline has one student quarantined due to exposure. All other schools in the district to include Peck and Cavendish are currently free of Covid. Timberline, Peck and Cavendish Schools will remain in the green phase with masks highly recommended. Masks are required by all school staff and employees.

The school board will meet again Monday, Nov. 2, to re-evaluate the operational plan.

Public comment was received from Annette Haag, Social Studies teacher at OJSHS, who was allowed the usual three-minute ime limit to comment. In an emotional plea to the board, Haag introduced her granddaughter, who was born prematurely in January, then explained her long history working with the district including family who had attended or taught over the years.

Haag was interrupted and asked to not speak about her employment, during an open meeting. Chairman Dr. Charity Robinson paused the timer to allow Haag a moment to rephrase her comment.

Haag clarified whether it was okay to talk about school policy even if she didn’t mention names, the board let her proceed but soon stopped her again, asking her to not say anything further at that time, and reminded her that her comments should be brought up during an Executive Session.

She continued to say that in parting, (revealing that she has submitted a resignation effective Aug. 30, 2021) Haag wanted her students to know she would continue to work as hard as she ever has for them. “To the School Board, I hope you continue to make decisions with the realization that what you change as a board affects people’s lives, the futures of our students and the people in this community. I hope you all get out as often as you can and go to the buildings to see the relationships being built…I hope you make decisions based on information you personally have gained, and use the information you have learned with your best judgement.”

Her next message to the administrators was interrupted, as well as her message to the superintendent. When asked to stop as her time had expired, she continued for several minutes, in which no one could be heard very well as several people were talking at once. Robinson instructed the Trustees to leave, and they could be seen leaving their positions at the board meeting as Haag continued, returning only when the comment period was over.

As noted with other public comments at prior meetings, no crosstalk is allowed. The board is unable to ask further questions or make a comment at that time.

The two hour plus meeting will be covered in greater detail in the Clearwater Tribune’s next issue.

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