EATON — Preble County Educational Service Center (ESC) board members and administrators discussed back-to-school safety procedures in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic during their regular monthly meeting Wednesday, July 15.
ESC Superintendent Mike Gray said he’d received a number of calls from parents expressing concern about back-to-school plans throughout the county, especially the issue of whether students and staff will be required to wear masks.
“My phone’s just gone crazy like I’ve never seen it before,” Gray said.
“Brookville Schools Superintendent Tim Hopkins said it so well,” Assistant to the ESC Superintendent Shawn Hoff said. “No matter what decision we make — masks or no masks — we’re going to have people who are going to be upset.”
Some parents will inevitably choose to keep their children home no matter what school districts decide, according to Hoff.
“I tell people, you have to do what’s best for your child, based on your family values,” Hoff said.
Hoff stated that ESC teachers and staff will likely wear transparent surgical shields rather than masks which hide the lower half of the face, however.
“With the population we serve, the ability to see [the lower face] is absolutely essential,” Hoff said, citing that some ESC students are hearing impaired and required to read lips.
“I can tell you — we will make mistakes,” Hoff continued. “We’re going to make plenty of them. We just have to remember that the important thing is the kids. That has to be our priority.”
Hoff also informed board members that a remote learning plan for students whose parents choose to keep them home in the fall will have to be submitted to the state by Aug. 31, requiring either a special meeting or to reschedule the board’s next regular meeting slated for Aug. 24. The board ultimately voted to reschedule that meeting for Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @improperenglish