Maysville local schools suspend vote on mask requirement


TOWNSHIP OF NEWTON – Students and staff at local schools in Maysville will have to wait a little longer to see if they will need to wear masks.

During a working session Thursday evening on COVID-19 procedures, the Maysville school board did not adopt any new policies on the mask requirement after two hours of discussion and public comment.

A resolution was read aloud for consideration, but no one moved to vote.

The council did not adjourn. They have entered a break and will meet again at 5 p.m. Monday at the district office.

Mask warrants:Muskingum County School Districts Do Not Require Masks

Three board members were present at the meeting, Robert Wilson, Kerry Hartman and Dr Ralph Smith. Sandra Rucker and Kelli Israel were absent.

Currently, the district operates under an optional mask policy.

During the meeting, the board released a Genesis HealthCare video to a sparse crowd of parents, teachers and school administrators. The video showed data for the first 17 days of September; there were 661 positive cases of COVID-19 among those 19 and under.

As of Thursday, 209 students were in quarantine.

Hartman said that during that 17-day period, Maysville students made up 26% of that number. He noted that there was no way to tell whether a student, whether positive or simply quarantined due to exposure, could bring the virus home to a vulnerable guardian.

Speaking on behalf of Rucker and Israel, Hartman said the two supported a mask mandate. Hartman and Wilson have said they support a mask warrant. They also pitched the idea of ​​a trial period to see if the number of cases and the number of quarantines go down.

“We should have better answers for our children. If this advice decides to wear masks, I will take it to keep my grandchildren in school. Not because I think they all have to wear them,” he said. Smith said. “We are trying to find answers, common sense answers.”

That’s what the board ultimately landed on: to hide for at least a month and see if the number of cases and quarantines go down. They cited Morgan Local recently implementing a mask warrant and seeing success with fewer quarantines.

“I think it’s a very logical step to protect our children, our staff – and protect our community, because I’m honestly concerned that as soon as someone comes home, and they bring them home. to (his families), ”Hartman said. .

They also suggested that a survey be sent to parents.

Frequent quarantines affecting education, according to administrators

The most recent data from the Ohio Department of Health shows 63 Maysville students and two staff members tested positive between September 13 and 19. Others have been quarantined due to contact with a COVID-positive person who was not wearing a mask.

School administrators say student and staff absences are starting to impact lessons.

“You could have 10 kids in a class… they’re away three or four days, then those kids come back, then there are five more,” said high school principal Robert Dalton. “A group comes back, then you get caught up, and then there’s a submarine. So you start, and do it again.”

Seventy-six students were quarantined at the college on Thursday.

“It creates a huge problem for teachers to keep everyone in the loop, and their biggest challenge is really how to get these kids to catch up when they come back without having to stop things for the other students who have been. there all the time, “said college principal Jackie Farmsworth.” It’s this influx of kids in and out of classrooms. “

Mixed reviews from parents

All of the parents who spoke at the meeting agreed that they wanted to keep the children in school, but not all agreed on a mask mandate.

Anthony Kinner did not support the masks, citing mixed messages he received about their effectiveness. He also said the masking made it difficult for his children to learn and interact in class.

“If you put on masks, you might not (need) masks all the time,” Kinner said. “As a learner myself, I can’t stand watching someone talking. I can’t connect with you. I guarantee my son is the same way.”

Amid arguments over the reliability of COVID-19 data, parent EJ Stoepful said he was sticking to the facts.

“680,000 people have died,” said Stoepful, who is also a medical professional. “You can’t argue with this.”

A COVID-19 dashboard is available on the Maysville website. It is updated weekly and displays cumulative cases.

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Twitter: @couchreporting

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