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Wayne County Board of Education updates previous masking policy

Wayne County Seal

Wayne County Board of Education updates previous masking policy

      The Wayne County Board of Education unanimously agreed to drop the existing mask policy, currently based on health official’s weekly incidence rate of COVID in Wayne County.

        Board Member Whitney Smith made a motion to do away with requiring masks in the schools. She proposed that masks be optional on a permanent basis. She said the issue should be left up to the parents. Board member Jarrod Criswell seconded the motion and the remaining board members all voted in favor.

         Superintendent Wayne Roberts said he understood that board members were receiving calls from parents about requiring masks in schools. The principals had not reported any issues with the students in the buildings regarding wearing masks.

         Roberts noted that the availability of higher quality masks has improved and the district has ordered KN95 masks for the students and staff, who wish to use them for their personal protection. He said the major problem the school district has experienced is a shortage of staff members due to COVID. Over the past few weeks, there have routinely been 12-15 unfilled substitute vacancies each day across the district, though that number has decreased to 5-7 per day this week.  Roberts explained that folks like principals, assistant principals, music teachers, RTI teachers and other specialty staff members have been pulled from their duties to substitute teach in classrooms for unfilled teacher vacancies. He said the staff was worn out from having to cover so many classes, so the last Non Traditional Instruction (NTI) day had been welcomed.

     “It has been a very uncomfortable time,” he said. Roberts was hopeful that the situation is going to change in the near future. Masks are still required at the Wayne County Area Technology Center, due to their state regulations.

       Assistant Superintendent Brian Dishman updated the board on instruction at the schools and the role ESSER funding has played in improvements to curriculum and instructional materials. The adoption of new curriculum resources has come at an especially good time, given the large number of new teachers the district has hired in the past two years. 

        Local teachers are currently adopting the Social Studies curriculum that was previously budgeted for, according to Dishman. Once this process has been completed, the district will have adopted curriculum for all four core subject areas over a three-year period.

      “We decided to do this locally, because the state had not provided funds for instructional materials in many years.  We have been able to take advantage of ESSER funding to accelerate this process,” explained Dishman.

        In other business:

       *Approved the Nutrition and Physical Activity report presented by Director Kathryn Tucker.

       *No action was taken on the 2022-23 School Calendar report proposed by the committee.

       *Congratulated the senior WCHS Academic Team members on the team’s recent District Governor’s Cup win during the special recognition segment.

        *Approved the 2022-23 allocation formulas that are due to the SBDM councils by March 1.

        *Approved a pay application for the Monticello Elementary Renovation Project, as well as credits on two change orders. Also approved a BG4 form closeout document on the project.

        *Approved a pay invoice to DECO Architects for $29,393.40 for professional services regarding the Early Childhood Center building project.

        *Approved GRW, an architectural and engineering firm for design work in relation to the WCHS gym indoor air quality improvement project.

         *Approved to salvage a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer.

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