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Benton School District prepares for students to return to classrooms


BENTON, Wis.–The Benton School Board directed administration to have students return in person for the 2020-2021 school year at the July 8 board meeting.

“It is important we come to a consensus and make this decision as a group,” said Superintendent Todd Bastian. “This decision is weighing very heavy on us.”

Bastian said the plan is to have every student back every day, and to prepare virtual options as well in case they are needed.

“Our small numbers are an advantage to us because we are able to social distance and meet the requirements as good as any district,” said Bastian.

Bastian thinks the district may have to stagger lunches, but that they won’t have to stagger attendance and other schedules.

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Board member Bob Knight asked Bastian if masks are required to be on when students enter the building. Bastian said masks are necessary when they enter.

Benton is considering having staff take the temperature of students at the beginning of the day. Students could then take masks off and social distance as much as possible.

Bastian said a problem he has with planning is that the information on the virus constantly changes. He also raised concerns about the lack of substitute teachers willing to enter the school during the pandemic.

The board also:

•learned that due to their co-op with Scales Mound for football that the district has to take the temperature of all Illinois athletes that compete with the team. Scales Mound has sent a thermometer to Benton.

•approved insurance with TRICOR for 2020-2021. Bastian said there was no noticeable increase.