Teacher assignments approved as USD 422 BOE prepares for new year starting soon

Courtney Blankenship
Kiowa County Signal
Kiowa County schools are getting ready for a late August start as questions about masks and COVID-19 continue to swirl.

Administrative changes, staff shuffle continues as Kiowa County schools get ready for 2021 fall opening at the end of August. 

The emergence of COVID-19 last year brought many changes and challenges for schools around the country, but as cases begin to rise once again, Kiowa County School District is working with the local health department to prepare for the new academic year.

Following Staci Derstein’s retirement from superintendent this summer after over 30 years of work in education, the Kiowa County School District transitioned to new leadership and will be headed by Superintendent Mark Clodfelter this upcoming year.

The ‘calendar events’ section of the USD 422 website lists the first day of classes as August 19, 2021, and at this point in time, Superintendent Clodfelter said the goal is to keep students and teachers on location and to keep operations as “normal” as possible.

“The COVID-19 situation is a fluid one,” Clodfelter said. “It has the potential for rapid change and the need for flexibility. Our main concern is the health and well being of all of our staff and students. At the current time, we plan to open up with the same protocols we ended the year on.”

Regarding masks, Clodfelter said that the school district is in close contact with the local health department in order to determine the best protocols for students and staff, but the current plan is for masks to be optional.

“Our administration, in conjunction with the Board of Education, will work closely with the Kiowa County Health Department to take the appropriate measures to keep our school population as safe as possible,” Clodfelter said.

For those who may have interest in working as a substitute in the district for the upcoming school year, Clodfelter said the district is always looking to add to its list of subs.

In other USD 422 news, the Board of Education held a meeting on July 12, 2021 to give reports, approve appointments for the 2021-2022 school year, and address other related matters, including approving a minimum of 1,116 hours for the upcoming school year and approving a contract with the Kiowa County Health Department for 2021-22 health services at a rate of $25 per hour.

According to the meeting minutes, Cassie Kirby was appointed as board clerk; Dana Trummel was appointed as board treasurer; Paul Kendall was appointed as governmental relations representative for 2021-22; The payment of July bills in the amount of $163,788.86 was passed; The Merchant’s Directory was designated as the official publication for public notices; Ki Gamble was appointed as the South Central Kansas Special Educational Cooperative representative for 2021-22; and Rosa Hettinger was appointed as Friends of Education Charitable Trust representative for a two-year term expiring June 30, 2023.