HULBERT - The Hulbert Board of Education met on Monday night to discuss junior high sports, a return to a five-day school week, a change in guidelines for quarantining at the second contact level, and an extension to Superintendent Jolyn Choate's contract.

The most heightened debate pertained to a school board decision to cease junior high sports, while allowing high school sports to continue.

Gracie Gordon is a junior high athlete who plays basketball, softball, and volleyball, and has recently picked up CrossFit because her basketball season was cut short.

"I was taught to go for what I want, and I want to play basketball. I know our coach, and I don't think he'd put any of us in danger. I just want to play basketball," she said.

Jennifer Foster is a Hulbert parent and teacher at Fort Gibson. She is concerned because she believes junior high students need sports as much as high school kids.

"If high school kids are playing ball, what's the difference between them?" she asked.

After the executive session, the board made a motion and passed, unopposed, an item including the addition of athletic competitions at the junior high level.

"We have always allowed students to play sports at school, but we will now let them compete," said Choate.

She explained competition was halted because junior high students do not compete at the state level.

As of now, Hulbert Public School students attend using an A/B schedule, but that may change. As part of Item 5, the board passed a measure to allow students to return to a five-day schedule.

According to the superintendent, about 90 students have chosen to go virtual, and she believes it is likely they will stay virtual.

"At home, many of them have someone that there is a concern about getting the virus," she said.

These virtual students are vital to the success of social-distancing procedures when in-person students return to school five days a week, she added.

Board member Rachel Dallis asked if Hulbert went in the Orange category tomorrow for the coronavirus, what capacity of students would return, and Choate guessed somewhere between 70-90%. Because of their A/B schedule, on any given day, the school operates at 35% capacity, and board members seemed nervous should everyday capacity jump to 90%.

"If we have parents who are nervous, they can opt to go virtual," said Choate.

A motion was passed to change the Return to Learn section on Guidelines for Exposure. The recommendation was made to follow the new CDC's guidelines for quarantining at the Second Level Contact.

"We updated the new quarantine guidelines to match the recommendations of the CDC so students can come out of their quarantine at the second contact level after only seven days. The CDC recommends that they wear a mask until they reach 14 days, but that doesn't affect us because we always mandate masks, anyway," said Choate.

The board also approved a one-year extension for Superintendent Choate.

What's next

The next Hulbert School Board meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.

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