Four coaches were in attendance, three via phone or zoom, at the Dakota Valley School Board meeting Monday, June 8 to discuss the ballfield complex, scheduling for games and practices and T-ball for this summer.

The only teams that had been approved to play ball were the VFW teams. Tammi Voegeli and Kelly Riibe asked if the softball girls would be able to utilize the fields for practices and a couple home games. The board approved adding softball, but stressed the importance of communication between the programs to make sure there was sufficient social distancing in place with only a couple fields being played on at one time. The board, however, decided it was a good idea to forgo this year’s T-ball program. The board reserves the right to close the fields at any time if guidelines aren’t being followed or an increase of cases of COVID-19 requires area closures.

The first reading was held on 11 school handbooks, seven with no changes. The board asked questions and made a couple recommendations for small changes (such as deleting or adding a word) on the four handbooks that did have changes. One such question was the change requiring athletes to undergo a physical before being allowed to participate in sports for the 2020-21 school year. Activities Director Bill Clements explained that the South Dakota High School Activities Association is allowing athletes who completed a physical last year and played sports within the school district to use last year’s physical as a way to not overtax the healthcare system. New students and incoming seventh graders would have to have a physical before being allowed to participate. The handbook will change back next school year, 2021-22, requiring annual physicals for all athletes.

The state and the district are still contemplating various start plans for the school year and what to do if another wave of COVID-19 forces schools to shut down. A committee has been formed with 29 staff and administration members to walk through scenarios and formulate a plan. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerry Rasmussen said the plan would have to be as flexible as possible; there’s no way to know what the next year can bring. He said there should be a rough plan to present at the July meeting.

Board President Steve Kistner asked that the committee take into consideration calendar event days such as registration day.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times and Leader-Courier.