City, county and school board meetings to be held virtually and in-person

Public meetings have to operate differently because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matt Allen, Garden City city manager, said the city plans to conduct its next meeting, scheduled for April 7, similarly to the March 17 meeting.

The last meeting had fewer people in the commission chamber with fewer chairs spread farther apart.

The commission also utilized a meeting room across the hall where chairs were spaced out, with people watching the meeting on television and those speaking on agenda items coming into the chambers as needed.

In Holcomb, city clerk Robin Lujan said the city commission meetings will continue mostly as normal, with the only difference that chairs will be spread out.

“(The meetings) are not usually very well attended, usually there’s only five to six people there,” she said. “If there’s an issue where there are more people in attendance it might be a little bit of a struggle, but under normal circumstances with attendance we will not have any struggle. With the size of the room we have room to space people out.”

Dori Munyan, Finney County clerk, said things are still up in the air as to how the county commission will handle its future meetings.

“Our next meeting is April 6, and right now we’re planning to reopen that day, but that’s up in the air until things play out,” she said. “We have not made a decision yet on how to hold that, either as a teleconference or in person.”

Roy Cessna, Garden City Public Schools public information coordinator, said USD 457 also has not finalized a plan for how meetings will be handled.

He expects them to be conducted via YouTube, both as a live feed and then posting it on the website for viewing later.

“We’re following guidelines at this time of social gatherings of no more than 10 people at one time and have them be 6 feet apart,” he said. “We’ll probably be getting more information on where to go with meetings like this, but this is where we’re at right now. Our main focus is getting an instructional plan in place to with teachers and students.”

Scott Myers, superintendent of Holcomb USD 363, said that district is looking at streaming its meetings some way, probably just with audio.

“We’re looking at a broadcast type thing, kind of like how we do our basketball games,” he said. “Of course we’ll have the opportunity for people to submit comments and things like normal, follow our normal procedures. That’s what we’re looking to do, nothings finalized yet, we’ve got a little bit of time, but that’s where we’re headed.”

The Garden City Community College Board of Trustees is also planning to hold meetings virtually, said Shajia Donecker, GCCC public relations and marketing coordinator.

“What those (meetings) are going to look like, we’re still working on those details,” she said. “We will make sure they are accessible to the public, it’s a requirement and we want that to happen ... but at this time we are planning on a virtual meeting to make sure the public is safe and the people involved in the meetings are safe to mitigate the spread.”