Fort Dodge School board tables vaccine mandate, ECC renaming

The Fort Dodge Community School District Board of Education won’t be taking any action anytime soon on mandating COVID-19 vaccines among staff or renaming the district’s Early Childhood Center.

The two topics were tabled by the board during its meeting on Monday night, with little discussion.

The first was on the reading and adoption of the federal OSHA mandatory policy on employee vaccination, which would require all school employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear face coverings at all times and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test every seven days.

“This has been a fluid process,” School Board President Stu Cochrane said. “At this point in time, it does not look like the vaccine policy promulgated by the federal government and OSHA will be implemented statewide.”

On Friday, Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts announced that Iowa will not be adopting or enforcing the federal mandate.

Cochrane noted that the vaccine mandate issue is a fluid topic, so he proposed that the board table the discussion indefinitely.

“This district has not elected to make vaccination mandatory,” he said. “The only reason it was here on the agenda is due to the fact that it looked like we were not going to have an option given the status of the OSHA mandate, but at this point we do.”

The board also tabled discussion on the possible renaming of the Early Childhood Center, which serves the district’s preschool, transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students.

In November, the board began discussing the possibility of renaming the ECC.

On Monday, the board voted to table the discussion on renaming the school.

“There’s some issues related to potential costs and inconvenience if we were to make that change, so we’ve asked Dr. Joel to go back to the table and review for us what all might be involved in the decision if we were to rename the Early Childhood Center,” Cochrane said.

School Superintendent Dr. Derrick Joel is going to look into any unanticipated costs or other consequences related to renaming the school.

In other business, the school board held the second reading of an update to the board policy on graduation requirements.

The new graduation requirements include changes to science credits required. Students are now required to have two credits of biology, or equivalent; two credits of chemistry, or equivalent; and two credits of physics, or equivalent.

The board approved a $15,900 contract with Asset Services, of Overland Park, Kansas, for a full fixed asset inventory. Brandon Hansel, executive director of financial services, said the district conducts the inventory every two years to maintain accurate records for insurance purposes and to comply with accounting standards.

The district also received a bid of $16,500 from Asset Works, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Board member Bill Kent was appointed to serve on the Webster County Conference Board.


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