Trustees appoint new Waggoner principal, COVID testing funding

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The Board of Trustees appointmented a new principal for Waggoner Elementary School and a funding agreement for on-site COVID testing at the Winters Joint Unified School District board meeting on Thursday, May 20.

Human Resources Administrator Lisa Dennis presented that of the 10 applications received for the Waggoner Principal position, four candidates were selected for an interview on Monday, May 3 with a panel of 12 Waggoner classified and certificated staff, Waggoner parents, site administrators and school district leadership. Two of the candidates were then selected for a second round of interviews with Superintendent Superintendent Diana Jiménez and Chief Business Officer Jennifer Passaglia.

Travis Nelson was selected as the final candidate, and was unanimously appointed by Trustees (with the exception of Joedy Michael who was absent).

Nelson currently works in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, as the Assistant Principal of the B. Gale Wilson TK-8 School. He has experience in elementary education, early literacy and bilingual education.

“Travis comes highly recommended by both staff and colleagues. We have no doubt that his experience will be a tremendous asset to Waggoner Elementary School and the District team,” Dennis said.

COVID testing funding

Trustees also unanimously approved to enter into a funding agreement with Healthy Davis Together, UC Davis.

Josh Harris, Special Education and Student Services Director, said HDT entered into agreements with school districts in Yolo County to provide free COVID-19 testing for students and district staff. The Funding Agreement runs through the end of the year.

Harris said in part of the agreement HDT will provide funding in a maximum amount of $250,000, equipment, supplies, sample collection materials, PPE, training, communications materials, and other assistance to enable Winters JUSD to make COVID-19 testing available to students, teachers, staff, and students’ family members.

HDT will also transport the tests to be analyzed at the Michelmore lab on the UC Davis campus.

In return, Winters JUSD will provide staff to perform overall administration of the project, space at Winters school sites for registration and testing, and monthly accounting of the funds expended and encumbered.

Winters JUSD will provide them with access to the testing results and other appropriate information necessary to understand and analyze the effectiveness of the testing program conducted at the school district locations.

Tod Stoltz, of HDT, said the testing turnaround time is, on average, 21 hours. Stoltz also said it is a saliva-based test for asymptomatic individuals, but they do have options for those who are symptomatic.

Trustee Kristin Trott asked if the participating school districts are framing it as voluntary or as testing is expected and families would have to opt out.

Stoltz said that within Davis where they have currently been testing it is an opt in test.

“Most kids have opted in to do it. The school district is not mandating it. They don’t think they can. Dr. (Amy) Sisson decided not to mandate it. Our position is that we would like to offer testing. If the school district wants to mandate it, that is their business,” Stoltz said.

He noted that in Davis 30-40 percent of students in the school are testing each week, but knowing the actual ratio is challenging because there are also a lot of students who are in a distance learning option and it’s hard to know how many students are actually at school each week.

“One of the goals of our project is to learn what motivates people to get tested, why do people not want to get tested. We want to share our learnings with other schools around the test,” Stoltz said.

The next school board meeting is Thursday, June 3 at 6 p.m.

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