Mitchell School Board to meet Monday to officially sign off on winter activities

Board meeting will be held via teleconference


The Mitchell School District Board of Education will meet via teleconference on Monday to consider affirming plans for the winter sports and activities season.

The regular meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Monday virtually. It will be the first school board meeting to be held through a conference call format since May 11, and the board had held its last eight meetings in person prior to the December meeting.

Members of the public and all interested parties can access the board meeting by calling 1-312-626-6799, then inputting the meeting ID: 939 8842 6462, then the passcode: 729499.

The vote on student activities guidelines -- which will cover fine arts and sports and academic competitions -- will follow mostly how the fall season unfolded for MHS students. The guidelines will mostly follow guidance from the South Dakota High School Activities Association and can be considered a mere formality, as the Mitchell High School basketball gymnastics, and wrestling teams have all already competed in games this season.

“The SDHSAA Board of Directors passed a set of recommendations for sport and activity seasons for the winter season of 2020-21, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Superintendent Joe Graves wrote in an agenda memo on the item. “The Mitchell School District plan is not intended to revisit this previously traveled ground but to lay out general guidelines for how these will be implemented in this district in a clear, concise manner.”


Among the notable guidelines:

  • Four tiers of attendance will continue to be observed, with Tier 1 representing open attendance and Tier 4 being no fans. Mitchell operated for all of the fall season in Tier 2, which allows MHS student body attendance and each participant receiving four vouchers to exchange for tickets to attend games.

  • All spectators will be required to wear masks at Mitchell home events.

  • In wrestling, tournaments will be held with fewer teams. While the state maximum is eight teams per tournament, Mitchell will limit its annual Jerry Opbroek Invitational to just six teams due to facility limitations.

  • Gymnastics meets will be limited to four-team pods, similar to how cheer and dance operated during the fall season.

  • If show choir competitions are held in Mitchell, groups will arrive, compete and leave. Competitions will not include a Finals-type format.


As part of the board’s consent agenda, the following personnel items are before the board:

  • New certified hires: Esther Witte as 8th grade head boys basketball coach compensated at $2,517, effective for the remainder of the school year; Anthony de la Torre as 8th grade head boys basketball coach at $1,819, effective for the remainder of the school year.

  • New classified hires: Jessica Cross, general food service worker at MHS compensated at $13 per hour, effective Nov. 16.

  • Transfer: Dave Brooks, from assistant girls basketball coach to sophomore girls basketball coach and Jaime Neuendorf, from sophomore girls basketball coach to assistant girls basketball coach, effective Nov. 30.

  • MTC new hires: Amy Swett, as admissions representative, compensated at $22,811 (through June 30, 2021), effective Dec. 7; Whitney Bruinsma, as student success coach, at $20,000 (through June 30, 2021), effective Jan. 4, 2021; Kasey Thomas, as radiologic technology clinical adjunct instructor for the spring 2021 semester at $4,760, effective Jan. 11, 2021; Janet Nicolaus as adjunct instructor for spring semester 2021 at $4,500, effective Jan. 11, 2021.

  • MTC Resignation: Paula Morgan, as staff accountant, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Other business

At the Monday meeting, the board is expected to:

  • Approve June 8, 2021 as the joint city/school election date for any potential Board of Education seats.

  • Hear a review of the Mitchell School District Report card from Superintendent Joe Graves.

  • Hear a report from Graves about modifying the school district’s quarantine guidelines due to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortening its recommendations.

  • Hear board member reports and commentary and public commentary.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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