USD 490 conducted a noise exposure study for students in band and orchestra classes, as well as shop classes, to see what issues with sound levels there might be.
While there are not any established guidelines for what sound levels should be for students, the district used OSHA working standards. They found there are some peaks in terms of sound in the orchestra and band room.
“Those sounds created will not be muffled if we change the baffles in the rooms or the acoustics,” said Norm Wilks, director of fiscal services. “It will not diminish the potential damage for hearing loss.”
To help protect students’ hearing, the high school does provide students with ear plugs, which Wilks said was still the best response.
EHS Principal Kevin House said they purchased ear plugs for $10 a pair, which students can check out like an instrument, then check back in at the end of the year. They also have had some students who just purchased them from the district.
“We’ve made them available,” House said. “The student has to put them in their ears.”
In other business during the January USD 490 Board of Education meeting, the board:
• recognized staff from Lincoln Elementary School for receiving the Challenge Award Certificate. There were only 60 schools in the state selected for recognition for closing the gap on learning for students of poverty. Lincoln was recognized for uncommon accomplishment in closing the gap in fourth and fifth grade math and fourth grade reading.
• recognized HollyFrontier Refinery for their donation of $10,000 to the district in support of school safety.
• heard an update on the Legislature from Wilks. He said with all of the new faces in the House and Senate it was hard to tell what their primary agenda may be.
One ongoing issue is school finance litigation.
“We seem to want to disconnect the service from the requirement of providing the resources,” he said.
He said it will likely be a year before they know what the outcome of the appeal will be.
Other issues include school finance, career and technical education, charter schools and vouchers.
• approved graduation requirements, which did not have any changes from last year.
• approved the application to host a summer food service program.
The proposal is a request to provide breakfast and lunch to students enrolled in a summer school program. The district will find out if they are approved in April or early May. The program would provide any student enrolled in summer school a free breakfast and lunch, which will be part of the schedule for the day so they don’t have to come in early.