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Dodge City school board extends superintendent Fred Dierksen's contract

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe
The board of education heard a Tournament of Champions presentation from the Dodge City High School TOC Committee.

Convening again for the first time since Dec. 14, 2020, the Unified School District 443 Board of Education unanimously approved to extend superintendent Fred Dierksen’s contract until June 30, 2022.

“I still consider this the best job I’ve ever had and I’m grateful to be in this position,” Dierksen said.

Additionally, the board voted 7-0 to designate July as the month to select a new board president and vice president. This is an annual motion and, per policy, is required to be passed in January.

The current president is Lisa Killion and current vice president is Tammie West.

Included in this motion, was also the approval for school board meeting dates and locations for 2021.

Public information officer Kerri Baker informed the board that the COVID-19 Operations Plan for USD 443 will be updated and that will be reflected on the website for the public to see.

District director of safety and security Shawn Lampe said that includes a change by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention making the quarantine time for people that have been in close contact with positive cases not in the household now seven to 10 days.

The seven-day quarantine is still contingent on someone getting tested again and testing negative and showing no symptoms since being identified as being in proximity of someone with a positive case.

The 10-day quarantine is the same procedure, just without being tested.

As of currently according to Lampe, there are nine positive cases in students and eight positive cases in USD 443 staff.

Lampe also provided total positive COVID-19 case counts for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year.

There were 220 cases among students and 220 among staff, with 63 of the staff cases being teachers.

So far in the second semester, USD 443 has seen 16 positive student cases and 15 positive staff cases, with five of those being teachers.

When asked by Commissioner Jeff Hiers when teachers will be able to receive the vaccine, Lampe responded that he was not sure.

Lampe said he had been informed by Ford County Health Department administrator Angela Sowers that the Ford County Health Department has depleted the vaccine that was allocated to them for Phase 1 of administering protocols.

Lampe said he suspected that once the Ford County Health Department gets more vaccine, USD 443 will be able to start vaccinating its staff — starting with school nurses and then staff members 65 and older or those with health conditions.

USD 443 continues to work with the health department during the COVID-19 pandemic as vaccine distribution progresses.

Dierksen said he has offered to put up the Civic Center up as a central location to administer the vaccine not just for the school district but also the whole Dodge City community.

The Dodge City High School Tournament of Champions Committee gave a presentation regarding the 78th annual Tournament of Champions.

TOC will take place on Jan. 19, 21 and 23 at Dodge City High School.

Attendance will be limited per Kansas State High School Activities Association restrictions, only allowing two parents or legal guardians per participant.

Teams participating in TOC this year include Dodge City, Bishop Carol, Derby, Hutchinson, Junction City, Newton and Goddard Eisenhower.

Halftime performances will be put on by DCHS Cheer team and Drill team.

All games taking place in Dodge City will be available to view by livestream at www.dchssports.com.

The next school board meeting will take place at noon Jan. 25.