By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Most McMinnville school employees now vaccinated as deadline nears

About 93% of McMinnville school staff members are vaccinated against coronavirus, and the rest have agreed to precautions, including weekly COVID tests and heavy-duty masks.

Personnel Director Steffanie Frost told the school board Monday night that teachers, classified workers and other employees of the district will meet the state’s Oct. 18 deadline for the COVID vaccine.

As of Monday, she said, 92.5% of the staff was fully vaccinated. Another half percent had received one dose of a two-shot series. The other 7% had been approved for exceptions, and agreed to weekly testing, wearing KN-95 masks at all times and not removing the masks for any activity, even eating, unless in private.

Frost also reported that the district had been bargaining with its teacher and classified unions about COVID safety issues, and memos of understanding were imminent.

The district and unions also have agreed about a COVID leave bank, so employees can use the leave bank to take 10 days off if they contract the virus instead of using their regular leave time.

In other business, the school board:

- Approved a hike in the construction excise tax, which is collected from those who take out building permits and used for school capital projects. The tax on residential building will go up 2 cents, from $1.39 to $1.41 per square foot. The non-residential tax will go up 1 cent, from 69 cents to 70 cents per square foot.

- Heard that McMinnville High School will celebrate homecoming next week, Oct. 18-22. A homecoming assembly is planned on Oct. 22, prior to the football game; the assembly will be held outdoors in the stadium. A homecoming dance also is planned for outdoors at Baker Field, with numbers limited and students required to wear masks.

Mac High representatives Laney Hyder and Kaia Brantner told board members about homecoming and other school activities. Earlier, students from Grandhaven Elementary talked about their activities.

“That fills our heart,” board members Carson Benner and Jason Bizon said, explaining how glad they are to have students back in school full-time.

- Heard that parent-teacher conferences will be held Oct. 27-29. At the elementary level, parents can visit teachers in person, by phone or online. At the secondary level, conferences will be held by phone or online.

- Learned that a series of parent/community meetings will be held virtually Oct. 25 to Nov 6. Times and dates will be announced soon.

- Were informed that enrollment was 6,479 as of Oct. 1, the official counting day. That’s 113 students more than one year ago, when students were involved in Comprehensive Distance Learning, but fewer than projected during budgeting. It’s also 315 students fewer than at the district’s peak enrollment of 6,794 in 2016.

- Approved early graduation requests from three high school students. The students will need to complete all credits before graduating.

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