No decision was made about the upcoming school year at a special Brandon-Evansville School Board meeting Thursday night, but at least two school board members wanted a decision.

“I think we should just say we are opening back up,” said Andy Siira, who later added he was serious and not joking.

Kent Huisman, who said he doesn’t agree very often with Siira, said, “I agree with you. It’s time to get back to normal.”

Huisman also said, “Influenza has killed more than COVID anyway. Sometimes we just have to step up and do something.”

Siira said that those parents who don’t want to send their children to school can just stay home.

The B-E School Board scheduled the special board meeting July 30 knowing Gov. Tim Walz was going to come out with his recommendations for going back to school this fall.

Walz announced Thursday afternoon a set of ground rules for conditions outside and inside school buildings that will govern how public education can resume, while giving local officials and educators some leeway over deciding how education will be delivered to their students, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.

B-E Superintendent Don Peschel said the governor gave districts local control, which he said “is a good thing.”

“There will be some recommendations and requirements,” said Peschel, adding that there will be a distance learning plan in place for those parents who want to keep their kids home and masks are going to be required. “We have local control. This group has some power and this board gets to make the decision.”

Peschel said there are still some things that need to be done before the school board can make a decision, which includes sending out a parent survey. He said the survey should be finalized by the district’s task force on Monday, Aug. 3 and then be sent out to parents with a deadline of sending it back by Friday, Aug. 7.

The school board approved another special board meeting for Monday, Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. School board members will make their final decision about the upcoming year at that time.

School board member Jana Anderson said it is stressful for parents and that it would be best for the board to make the decision sooner rather than later. Siira again said the school board should just make the decision now.

Peschel said, “We need to survey our parents. We owe them that.”

He said the decision would be made at the special board meeting on Aug. 10.

Action taken

There were a couple items the school board approved, including the propane bid, which was given to CHS Prairie Lakes out of Starbuck. It was approved by a 5-1 vote with Huisman voting against it.

Two calendar changes were also approved. Nov. 25 and Dec. 23, which were originally going to be half days for students, will now be full workshop days for teachers so students will now have those days off.