LEWISBURG — Superintendent Bill Derringer updated Tri-County North Local School District Board of Education members on policies regarding COVID-19 quarantine requirements and mask mandates during their regular monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 16.
Derringer first addressed recently revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding masks.
“We’ll be following CDC guidelines and recommending that anybody [who’s] unvaccinated should have a mask on,” Derringer said of teachers and students on school grounds and within the classroom. “But we’re not requiring that. It’s a choice this year because we feel that we can give people that choice.”
Derringer stated, however, that bus drivers and students being transported on buses will be required to wear masks, in accordance with federal mandates involving public transportation. Derringer pointed out that the Ohio Revised Code does not classify school buses as public transportation, but that federal guidelines conflict with that assessment.
“We’ve gotten legal advice, and what we’re hearing is that a federal mandate supersedes the Ohio Revised Code on this point,” Derringer said.
Derringer also addressed shifting quarantine requirements, saying that at present students who test positive for COVID-19 will be sent home and asked to self-quarantine, but that the definition of “close contact” – formerly defined as anyone the student has been within six feet of for more than 15 minutes – has been revised to three feet.
Derringer said that these guidelines had changed “three or four times” during the last few weeks.
“It’s a moving target,” Derringer said. “It’s hard to stay on top of that one. But it’s our intention that we’re not going to be sending teachers and kids home right and left due to quarantine.”
In other business
Derringer addressed a number of projects the district had been working on over the summer, including replacing HVAC units in several rooms.
“There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that people in the community, and even members of our staff, don’t realize,” Derringer said.
Derringer said that HVAC upgrades would be paid for using federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, and “[wouldn’t] cost the taxpayer a thing.”
“We’ll also be bringing in additional exhaust fans to move more fresh air in and out of the building,” Derringer said.
Derringer also recognized three members of the district’s teaching staff who had achieved perfect attendance during the 2020-21 school year with certificates, including one, Rusty Hutchinson, “who’s missed two days in 18 years.”
“You probably line the walls of your house with these,” Derringer told Hutchinson.
Derringer also issued certificates to elementary instructor Larry Price and high school art instructor Stephanie Schieltz-Lowder.
“We always want to recognize that accomplishment of coming to work every day,” Derringer said. “It’s very appreciated.”
Board of Education meetings take place the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Tri-County North Administrative Office located at 205 2nd St. in Lewisburg.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish