Board of Ed hears updates from superintendent

By Brittany Hively -

POINT PLEASANT — For the first time in the 2021-22 school year, the Mason County School Board meeting opened without delegation and the masking policy was not discussed.

In attendance were Superintendent Keith Burdette; Board Members Ashley Cossin, Jared Billings, Meagan Bonecutter, Rhonda Tennant and President Dale Shobe.

During the superintendent’s report, Burdette said masking would not be discussed as no board member had pulled the item for discussion. He also said it would not be on the Nov. 9 agenda.

“It won’t be listed on the agenda, at least at this point in time, unless things change,” Burdette said. “If we see things are starting to change one way or another, drastically one way or another, then certainly we’ll add [it] back on.”

Burdette said an item could be added to the agenda up until the Wednesday prior to a meeting and if discussion is not planned it is not needed on the agenda.

It was also reported by Burdette that the county currently has 11 active cases of COVID-19 and 26 in quarantine, five schools in the the county currently have zero cases.

With the approval of COVID-19 vaccine boosters, Burdette said they have been reaching out to faculty and staff who have been vaccinated to gauge a number of those interested in the booster and if there is a need for a vaccine clinic in the future.

While it is reported that vaccination for children five to 11-years-old is on the horizon, Burdette said he suspects most parents who choose to vaccinate their children will prefer to do so at their child’s pediatric office. He noted if there was interest in an after-school student vaccination clinic, it is something the county will look into.

“We do anticipate that there might be some folks that would be benefited if we were to offer those clinics after school hours around some of the schools,” Burdette said. “We’re trying to figure out how we get counts for something like that.”

Burdette recognized Hannan Junior/Senior High School’s achievements in the Capital City Pumpkin drop, as well as the $40k award the school’s band received from a partnership with The West Virginia Department of Arts Culture and History and Save The Music Foundation.

The Mason County Career Center (MCCC) Future Farmer’s of America program recently assembled dog beds for the Mason County Animal Shelter, Burdette said.

Burdette also congratulated the Point Pleasant High School Boy’s Soccer team as word had came in of the team’s regional championship win. The team will move on to states. He also wished luck to the girl’s preparing to play as the meeting continued.

“And the girls are getting ready. That’s a regional title,” Burdette said. “So proud of them.”

Burdette said the Mason County Career Center held an open house Tuesday evening, in which he attended prior to the meeting and said it seemed to have a good turn out. He said Hannan High School was hosting an open house Wednesday, Oct. 27 and that Beale Elementary was hosting a “mad scientist day” on Friday, Oct. 29.

“There’s so many good things going on in [our] schools,” Burdette said. “I’ve told folks, you know, when you get out, get into [the] school[s], that really does recharge your battery.”

There was discussion on the rest of the year’s scheduled board meetings as one is during the week of Thanksgiving and one is during winter break. Burdette said he brought the dates to the board’s attention in case there was a need or want to change the meetings. Burdette hopes to have a few 2022-2023 calendar options available for the board at one of those meetings.

After a brief discussion the board decided to leave the calendar as is for the moment.

There was a brief discussion on the upcoming superintendent’s evaluation. Burdette said the state has changed the evaluation methods, implementing an easier tool for evaluation. He said boards can also come up with their own template for evaluation, but either way the West Virginia Board of Education has to be notified in December of the chosen method.

Earlier in the meeting, agenda item 6.07 was pulled and the board went into executive decision for nearly an hour. The item was to “approve the employment/transfer of Jonathan Hersman to principal at Roosevelt Elementary for 220 days, effective Oct. 28.“

After the lengthy executive session, the board came back and voted to approved the employment of Hersman 5-0.

The meeting adjourned with no objection or discussion.

© 2021, Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Brittany Hively

Brittany Hively is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 444-4303 ext 2555.

Brittany Hively is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 444-4303 ext 2555.