Using remote learning for vacations and surveillance testing not happening at SD4


At the Big Horn County School District 4 Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8, Superintendent Dave Kerby said they are pleased with the first two weeks of school. He added they are trying to follow the rules the best they can. This has included wearing masks during transitions and when six feet of social distancing could not be met. 

Kerby said they did host a county health meeting with county health prevention specialist Chad Lindsay, Sheriff Ken Blackburn, superintendents within the county, RMHS Principal Matt Jensen and LIE Principal Jeff Fuller. He said he appreciates the group and meeting to address issues that are happening in other places.

He reported that their opening plan is working out pretty well. One of the discussion items he was presenting was in regards to the distance learning, stating that they were offering it for those who are sick or quarantined. However, Kerby said they have had a couple of requests for students who are going on vacation to go on remotely. 

“That wasn’t the intent of what we are doing,” he said. 

Right now they are not saying no to those requests. A discussion later in the meeting was met with board members agreeing that the technology should be used only for illness and quarantine.

Kerby addressed that some of the districts are already experiencing issues with COVID-19. He said they are to make sure they have seating charts in place because if they have a case, they will be able to identify who was close to them.

An item that Kerby brought up was surveillance testing statewide. He was not able to attend the Zoom meeting, but watched a copy of the video. Kerby explained the state is offering surveillance testing for all districts within the state of Wyoming. However there was a time limit on when to respond.

Essentially, the surveillance test would require someone being there with supplies and scheduling people to take the test. Kerby thought it was a saliva test that would be sent off and they would get results in 48 hours that would tell them if they had it or are asymptomatic.

“I had some concerns about it,” he said. 

He had talked with school nurse Kaci Miller who talked with the staff. The consensus was that they were not interested in that. Kerby said Miller did not recommend it herself and they decided to opt out.

Moving on from there, Kerby discussed the SRO agreement that came back from the Town of Basin. He made the recommendation to put it off to look at wording. 

He finalized his report with summarizing the spectator variance that was authorized. Originally, it was told that 417 spectators could be in the Basin gym; however, Kerby clarified that it is 529. He reported they had around 200 at the first volleyball game.

He said he didn’t think they would need to go to a ticket system. 

Business manager report

Business manager Trevor Whitaker gave a short report to the board. He said demolition is done and the building (Old RHS) has been capped off. He added that one day when they get moved out they will hopefully get the fire sprinklers in there. 

Whitaker reported on the final walk through of the two new schools and going through all the warranty and punch line items. GH Phipps had thirty-days to get through a list provided to them. 

Whitaker made mention of the year to date by function report. The summer program was at 245 percent. He said normally their summer programs split for the summer. However, this year they put it off until the end and paid for the full amount versus half the amount. Also noted was the board of education services were at 62 percent. Whitaker explained they are tying the COVID-19 related expenses to the board’s budget.

Board member Chris Kampbell asked for Whitaker to explain the summer school expense. After Whitaker reiterated they paid the summer program in full, Kampbell said that should be 200 percent. However, he asked where the other 45 percent was. 

Whitaker said he didn’t know. He added that it was a relatively small amount and didn’t look into where the 45 percent came from. He offered to look into it and e-mail Kampbell.

Board member Brenton Paxton asked if the Manderson teacherages were for sale. Whitaker responded they are and explained he had gotten an e-mail from the realtor. He said they had the properties broken up and they came back in August. Whitaker hasn’t gotten keys to the realtor on those that are open; there are tenants that want to buy them.

Paxton asked Whitaker in regards to the items at the Manderson school. Whitaker said he called the auctioneer and they said no; however, a couple weeks later they called back and said they would do it. The company will come and do an inventory of items, take pictures and post it online.

Whitaker said it would take anywhere from four to six weeks and that was two weeks ago.

There was mention of Agri Tire’s warehouse as well. The auctioneer that Whitaker referred to was Swenson’s Auctions in Powell. 

In other business:

The board recognized new teachers at the high school and elementary school. Those that were present were Hannah Beaudrie (Third Grade), Jalynn McClure (Second Grade), Kyle Fenton (Special Education) and Travis Rapp (Freshman and Junior English).

Becky Allred presented the board of trustees with fresh baked pies.

Riverside Middle/High School Principal Matt Jensen reported on the upcoming Swivl cameras and the upcoming finalization of training on those units. Jensen also reported on requests from students to create an Instagram account and said apparently Facebook is “for old people”. Jensen mentioned the planning for the upcoming Homecoming week, which will include a parade. He finished his report with giving a shout out to the new School Resource Officer Monica Bogardus and School Nurse Kaci Miller, saying, “I feel like they have done a good job stepping up to the plate. I really appreciate how much they are around the building and making themselves visible so everyone feels comfortable around them.”

Laura Irwin Elementary Principal Jeff Fuller said the staff is looking really hard in the new building with beginning of the year assessments. They are also doing a new math recovery class this year that they took this summer to identify strengths and weaknesses in their students. Fuller reported they had one child that was doing distance learning that might decide to come to school.

Special Education Director Dale Query gave his report, which included the number of evaluations and IEP’s completed. He reported on attending MDT meetings and CRC transition meetings. Query informed the board they are updating tests. He was also working on getting a para-professional certified. 

Board member Brenton Paxton briefly reported the summer activities for the Recreation Dept. were over. They will complete the summer evaluations on the summer employees. He informed the board the Town of Basin approved to fund the other half of the swimming pool project. He said they are applying for two grants to help offset the costs. It is around $120,000 that will be out the town’s pocket. 

Board member Kristen Schlattmann gave a recap on the Booster Club’s golf tournament and said they made their net of $2500. She gave a shout out to the hard work of Principal Jensen and Dale Query at the event. She also reported there was a request from a business in Worland who wants to pay the Booster Club to place a banner in the gym with an advertisement. Skye Cervantes is in the process of contacting someone from Pepsi in order to find out the cost of making the banners. They are also in the process of doing senior pictures for banners.

SRO Officer Monica Bogardus presented the safety report. She informed the board they had K-9’s come from the BHC Sheriff’s Office. She is also working on the emergency procedure pamphlet. Bogardus did inform the board about an issue of not enough radios and issues with them communicating, so they would need new radios. She finished by saying there is Red Ribbon Awareness month and working on getting a reenactment of drinking and driving.  

There was an executive session for personnel and a student matter. After emerging from the executive session, they approved the non-resident applications. 

The board approved the resignation of Kristen Brown as middle school assistant girls’ basketball coach. They also approved the hiring of Wayne Hammer as maintenance director.

A motion to approve a change in the pay for substitute teachers was tabled in order to obtain more information.

Supt. Dave Kerby presented his monthly sources of evidence, briefly going over strategic planning goals. He had RMHS Principal Matt Jensen share a brief update on ACT’s.  

Board member Audra Crouse shared with the board on a possible opportunity from Antelope Butte on a program where students can get ski lessons. The board shared interest in hearing more information.