POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Board of Education met on Tuesday evening to discuss the re-entry plan details.
As previously reported by the Register, the board voted at the last meeting to return to in person learning on Jan. 19 on a 2:3 model, meaning students would go to school two days and be report for three days, just as they were before the county went to all remote learning. On Jan. 25, the students would return to in person learning on a 4:1 model.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted to make the one remote learning day on Friday each week.
High school students will be in remote learning if the county is “red” on the DHHR color map. The board decided when the county turns “red,” the students will switch to remote learning the following day.
On Wednesday, the state board of education adopted a motion stating much of the same. The state said pre-K through eighth grades will attend in-person instruction beginning Jan. 19.
“Counties do not have the option to implement full countywide remote learning for Pre-K – 8 students,” the motion states. Counties are encouraged by the state to return to in-person four or five days per week, but have the option to return to at least two days per week. The state board listed the same guidelines for high school students to following the DHHR map, which will determine if students in grades nine-12 will be remote.
The board discussed mask wearing and even entered into executive session for the matter. Students in grades three through 12th have to wear masks at all times except for meals, per state guidelines. Students in pre-K through second grade are allowed to take the masks off in their core groups, per state guidelines. Board member Ashley Cossin made a motion to require students in pre-K through second grade to follow the same guidelines as those in third through 12th grades. The motion failed 3:2, with Cossin and board member Rhonda Tennant voting for the measure.
The board passed a motion to enact the state recommendation for a teacher in quarantine to teach through telecommunication. Teachers who are able to teach this way to students in the classroom would not need to use a personal day when not able to report to the building. In this case, a substitute would be in the classroom to watch the children. Supt. Jack Cullen reminded the board this measure can only be for teachers, not other categories of staff.
In his report to the board, Cullen discussed the topics of the meeting he had with the county health department on Monday. Cullen said the vaccinations last Friday went well. Cullen said he was unsure when the next dose would be available. Cullen said he also discussed contact tracing with the health department. The department will handle it on a case-by-case basis and Cullen emphasized the importance of taking attendance and maintaining a seating chart.
During the meeting, the board accepted Cullen’s resignation due to retirement, effective June 30, 2021. The board also passed a motion to use the West Virginia School Board Association to assist the county board in finding a new superintendent.
Treasurer Gary Hendricks gave a report to the board. Currently, Hendricks said the district is expected to receive 1.2 million less than last year. Of this, $730,000 is due to the decrease of 92 students.
More on the Mason County Board of Education will appear in upcoming editions of the Point Pleasant Register.
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