Limited spectators at Prairie du Chien sporting events

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

Approximately 40 students, mostly girls, attended the Prairie du Chien School Board meeting Monday evening to ask the board to allow students to attend sports events this fall. Three girls spoke to the board on behalf of the group. The students were mostly upperclassmen.

District Administrator Andy Banasik told the board that Crawford County is in Phase 2 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the county’s recommendation is for 100 spectators at outdoor sports events and 50 at indoor events. 

Banasik also said there are 41 players on the football team and it is recommended that two vouchers be available per family for each football player. This means that 82 vouchers are available for football games at $10 apiece. The vouchers are good for all home and away games. Due to the nature of the pandemic, the number of spectators allowed at sports events could change.

Banasik said that because of health and safety concerns, it is not recommended to go against Crawford County’s recommendations, which would mean that no students would be allowed on school property during sports events.

Board member Cassie Hubanks said the board has been hypocritical in adopting a hybrid (part-time in school, part-time virtual) for school, and yet also allowing a fall sports season.

“We’re not consistent,” she said.

“We need to look out for the safety of everyone,” said board member Nick Gilberts.

Hubanks said school is for academics and she is also concerned for the safety of everyone.

Board member Michael Higgins said allowing students at sports events would be increasing risk.

Board members Tom Peterson and Duane Rogers said they would like for students to be able to attend sports events but it would not be setting much of an example if the district went against the recommendation of the county.

The board then unanimously voted to not allow students to attend sports events on school property, and they would allow two vouchers per player.

Some students began to cry after the vote was taken.

Spectators at fall sports events should wear masks and maintain six feet of social distance.

Also Monday evening, the district’s principals all gave brief presentations to the board about how school has gone so far.

“It’s been a good job in a tough situation by the entire staff,” said B.A. Kennedy Principal Laura Stuckey. “Everyone has done a fantastic job.” Stuckey also said the students have done very well at following the COVID protocol.

“The staff and support staff have been amazing,” said Hillary Day of Bluff View. Day also praised the food service delivery.

“We’ve been evolving to better serve the students,” said High School Principal Paul Weisse in part of his address to the board.

“It’s been a fast two weeks for everybody,” said Banasik, who noted that lunch and breakfast are provided for free, and continue to be delivered to bus stops out of town, as well is being served in school. The staff has been serving about 100 meals per day, said Banasik.

Prairie du Chien Police Chief Kyle Teynor gave a presentation to the board regarding the possibility of having a school resource officer in the schools.

Teynor said he was at the meeting at the request of the city council, and that the council would like to work with the school district to find a way to have a school resource officer.

Teynor listed numerous reasons why a school resource officer would be good for the school, the students and their families. Some of the reasons included suicide awareness, cancer benefits, reducing the number of calls to the schools for police, student trauma due to out-of-school events, the PALS program, the mock trial, the Sources of Strength program, building relationships with mentors, freshmen orientation, career choices, meals for families during the holidays, school lunch accounts, prevention programs, positive life skills and many others.

The school resource officer would not be there to punish or discipline students. It was also noted that there are numerous training requirements for a school resource officer.

Teynor said the earliest that the school resource officer program would be set up is January of 2022. In the meantime, Teynor, the city council and the school district will look into possible ways to raise funds for the program. The school resource officer program may be a topic of discussion at a future school board meeting.

In other business, it was recommended to the board by Bluff View Athletic Director Torey Bartels that middle school sports be cancelled for the fall season, mostly due to a lack of games and for safety concerns. Bartels did ask the board to allow for practices, however. The board approved of having fall sports practices for the middle school.

An informational agenda item was discussed briefly regarding the possibility of changing the school nickname of “The Blackhawks” and possibly dropping the school logo of Chief Blackhawk. The item may come up on a future board agenda. Banasik said students may also have input as to a new logo or nickname if the nickname and logo are ever changed.

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