WINTERSVILLE – A temporary mask warrant raised concerns among parents at the Indian Creek school board meeting on Thursday.
The measure was adopted during a previous emergency session and was implemented on September 13 with the aim of keeping the number of COVID infections low. Prior to that, masks had been highly recommended, but Superintendent TC Chappelear informed parents of the change with just one call and said it was a precaution to keep everyone safe. He said students, staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings inside all buildings in the district and the policy will be revised at the end of the month.
The change did not please more than a dozen people who appeared at the meeting at Indian Creek Middle School. Many have argued that the masks are not effective and that parents should have the right to decide whether their children wear the blankets.
“The mask does not stop anything and does not slow down the propagation”, said parent Kurt Williams, citing recent studies. âThey will not provide protection against COVID-19. I’m not here to tell people to wear or not to wear a mask. It is not political. I understand you want to keep children and staff safe (but) it’s your job to educate.
Relative Amanda McClements said she cares about the health and well-being of the children, but disagrees with the mandate.
âCOVID is not going to go away. Are you going to make our children wear masks forever? We get consent forms for everything â, she commented, asking why parents cannot consent to masks.
Further comments came from Rich Gualtire, who called the terms unconstitutional and said families should be given the freedom to choose. Others who were not on the public participation list spoke out against the measure and board member Dr Ted Starkey sided with the parents, saying they had the right to voice their feelings. opposition and that he initially voted against the mandate. Another board member, Dr John Figel, said he respects people’s decisions and the issue is not political.
“I watch the science of this every day and there are arguments on both sides as to what masks will and won’t do,” added Figel. “We felt that whatever we could do to help protect and keep our children in the classroom, we thought was the right thing to do.”
He added that medical and religious exemptions could be filed with school buildings attended by students. Medical exemptions will be granted with a doctor’s note and religious exemptions will be granted by writing a letter to the school of attendance. Parent Chris Forrester questioned the protocol of who signed the religious and medical exemption forms, saying he supported the district’s decision to hide the children.
“I am the recommendation of the CDC and Dr (Anthony) Fauci”, he said. âOur government officials who are epidemiologists recommend masks. I want to protect my children so that they can go to school and get vaccinated. “
He also thanked the board for their decision.
Chappelear said officials had looked at the growing number of students being quarantined and noted that the warrant was temporary and would simply help keep the children in school. At present, there have been more positive cases than at the same time last year and 170 students were in quarantine. However, the number of people in quarantine was stabilizing and authorities were monitoring the situation closely. He later said the mandate would remain in place and leaders would consider the issues at the end of the month. Chappelear also thanked everyone for attending and voicing their concerns.
âI appreciate the parents and community members who demonstrated. It’s all part of this process â, he commented. âYou have an elected education council and you have the opportunity for the public to influence the decisions of the council. I am happy to hear their concerns.
During this time, face coverings should be used on district-provided public transportation in accordance with CDC guidelines. Officials will continue to use a minimum of three feet of spacing in classrooms when possible, to clean and disinfect surfaces and classrooms, and to use ventilation.
Leaders also approved a series of staff issues, including Sarah Bolen’s resignation as Spanish / Italian teacher at ICHS at the end of the school year. Bolen was also a high school foreign language and drama advisor.
Meanwhile, the board corrected a previous agenda to appoint Bethany Davis as the first-year girls’ basketball coach, and members approved additional contracts for additional duties for the director of physical activities. after Hills school, Bobbie Jo Agin, ICHS Group Director Don Llewellyn, ICHS Group Deputy Directors Kent Howell and Kim Howell and Cross Creek OIP Kim Wadas; Before and after school care staff, including teachers Hillary Garner, Amy Rusnak and Ruth Rees in Hills and Rachel Antonelli, Dominique Banks, Alex Menke, Mary-Lil Giusto, Hannah Treglia and Marissa Kiddey and substitutes Karen Lloyd and Kristi Sciarra at Cross Creek, as well as classified staff Brenda Hyde of Hills and Christina Keyser of CCE and backup Linda Scarabino of Hills; and employed Raymond Cooper as a cook / cashier in Hills and classified replacement Trey Jeter as a bus driver.
The Board of Directors approved the resignations of Kenneth Skinner and Raeann Sowers as first-year girls’ basketball coaches and named them volunteers; approved Ashley Agin’s resignation as head chef at Hills Elementary but added her to the list of replacements; approved Holly Parissi’s resignation as the before and after care coordinator at Hills for the current school year; awarded additional contracts to Mentha Moore as ICHS cheerleader line instructor, Joe Ribar as ICHS women’s basketball assistant coach; has appointed Colleen Shepherd as a part-time reading teacher at Bishop John King Mussio Elementary School for the 2021-2022 school year.
Among others, the board of directors:
â¢ Heard reports from Indian Creek Education Association President Karen Lloyd who thanked officials for entering Cross Creek Elementary School and also for the recent approval of the three-year collective agreement with the teachers’ union; OAPSE representative Lori Orban, who said members were happy to be in the new building and looking forward to entering the new high school; and ICMS Director Holly Minch-Hick, who said five picnic tables have been donated to the outdoor classroom and plans are underway for grade six improvement and qu ‘a lecturer would visit the school; and Hills Elementary Principal Michele Minto, who said her students were happy to return to the renovated building and thanked the board for their support;
â¢ Approved an agreement with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for additional special education services to the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and new services for the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School for the current school year;
â¢ Approved an agreement with the Franciscan University of Steubenville to provide clinical training and practice to students in education degree programs for the 2021-22 school year;
â¢ Approved an agreement with Ohio University Eastern in which Indian Creek will offer teaching experiences and internships to students during the 2021-22 school year;
â¢ Approved a one-time payment of $ 500 for district administrators to retain quality administrators, risk premium and for additional duties related to COVID-19, which will be funded by ESSER III funds.