New questions arose from parents of Braham students in regard to COVID-19.

At the Braham School Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 15, questions that previously had not been asked were brought to the board’s attention from parents of Braham students.

“Why did the school board choose to post on the school’s Facebook page in October of a COVID-19 vaccination clinic held at Lutheran Church in North Branch boasting about a $100 gift certificate or gift card incentives given on site for the first dose and a convenient link to make an appointment and QR codes?” Mary Giffrow asked. “Why is the school coercing and encouraging an experimental gene therapy injections all without a link to any resources studies or data about known adverse reactions?”

Although many questions came up, Superintendent Ken Gagner was able to clarify the issue.

“None of the money, none of the incentives are from the school district. That is all coming from state and federal sources,” Gagner said.

Gagner mentioned he meets weekly with public health agencies to discuss COVID-19.

“They’re always advocating for certain things that they’d like to have like another clinic in here and I talked to the board and I said we’re not going to do that without their input,” Gagner said.

Melissa Bengston attended the meeting and asked if the school board can show other options for students and families aside from vaccinations.

“We did ask if you can some how get us antibody tests,” Bengston said.

She also asked the school board about sharing those options as well.

“Instead of pushing just one direction, if you want to push one direction I guess, I’m personally asking you, and I know there’s other parents, push the other too: Advertise the antibody tests. ‘Hey, parents, here are some resources for you to get your kids the antibody test.’ Let’s see if our kids don’t need to take this,” Bengston said.

One of the other concerns that Bengston mentioned is the next steps.

“What’s next for our kids? Is there a plan?” Bengston asked.

“So as far as what’s coming in the future, we’re not planning any changes right now, but none of us can see into the future. We’re monitoring very closely, we’re meeting with public health agencies every single week. We don’t plan anything differently right now,” Gagner said.

Teachers express concerns for possible school calendar change

Teachers attended the meeting to express their opinions on changes for the 2022-23 school calendar.

“The district has proposed a calendar change for the 2022-2023 school year which would move the three workshop days for employees one week earlier — the start of school for students does not change. This change is being proposed to help the district better prepare for the first day of school, allowing all departments time to make adjustments to ensure students receive the best experience possible on that Tuesday after Labor Day. Staying with the older model, the district has basically one day between the end of workshop and open house to make any needed corrections, etc,” Gagner said.

This left some teachers concerned about the possible change, including fifth grade teacher Aitor Leniz. Leniz attended the meeting to express his thoughts about the possible change to next years’ school calendar.

“It’s not beneficial to us. One of the things they had been mentioned was that it helps with preparedness, and I fully believe our staff is prepared every year to come into the school year on the date that we already do our workdays,” Leniz said.

He also mentioned a previous survey that took place on the issue.

“The majority of our union when we voted on a survey just recently — when I say majority, at that point it was 90% of our union — was not in favor of this move,” Leniz said.

Teachers felt not only would this change affect their plans but other staff as well.

“It will also hamper the custodial aspect of things because this will require them to have things done earlier than normal, which is, unfortunately, already a tough asking to get to,” Leniz said.

First grade teacher Kailey Edling also expressed her concerns after previous experiences prior to the start of the school year.

“I worked last summer and I worked up until two weeks before we went back, so I had a week prior to get into my classroom. My classroom was painted and it was torn apart, so if it was pushed forward, I would not have been prepared or I would have to spend all my nights and my weekends in there to ensure I was,” Edling said. “I can be prepared and I will be, but it is really stressful, because we spend a lot of time getting things prepared for open house. That was my main concern, because I was not able to get in there because of the floors being waxed, which is not anyone’s fault, but if that was pushed forward, I would not have any time prior to that date.”

As teachers had similar concerns, they were able to share their thoughts about the situation with the school board members. No action was taken at this meeting.

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