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School Facilities Dominate Agenda

Face Mask Policy Modified

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School facilities dominated the agenda of the regular board meeting last week, which also included a 6-1 vote to change the mask-wearing policy.

The board had previously agreed to vary the mask policy on a weekly basis, depending on the level of COVID-19 cases in the local community.

After several weeks of masks being optional, the COVID level had risen to the point that masks were required during the week of Dec. 6-10. However, Supt. Brent Howard announced at the meeting on the 9th that he was recommending they abandon the policy and make masks optional for the rest of the year.

Howard did not give a reason for changing his recommendation, and he indicated he had already discussed it individually with the board members. There was no public discussion of the issue.

“Our kids have done really good with this this week, switching back to the masks. I talked to each and every one of you about this, and I thought about it a long time. ... Everybody in this room, you’ve got options. Whether you want to use them, that’s up to you,” Howard said.

He recommended masks be optional for the rest of the year, and the only way that would change is if the state required them.

Mike Stewart made a motion to adopt the recommendation, and Lori Dobbins seconded it. The remaining members supported them, with the exception of Dickie Bishop, who abstained.

It was later clarified that the change would be immediate.

Prior to the start of the regular meeting, ESSER/Finance and Facilities Coordinator Cindy Smith gave a presentation of the district’s six-year facilities plan.

It includes a handful of projects, most of which have been discussed already and would be funded at least in part by funds from the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) money. At the top of the list are the HVAC projects at Rural Special and Timbo gyms, the outdoor classroom at Rural Special, and the food pantry at Mountain View.

These three projects have already been approved by the board.

See the full story in the  Dec. 15, 2021,  issue.

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