Ohio County Board of Education Changes Course on Quarantine Policy News, Sports, Jobs

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Photo of Joselyn King – Masked attendees await the start of the Ohio County Board of Education meeting on Monday.

WHEELING – Students in Ohio County schools must continue to wear masks, but education council members revoked changes to the school district’s COVID quarantine policy they approved last month on Monday evening latest.

The measures came after three parents and one of their daughters told council that their children had serious problems resulting from wearing masks at school.

They have extreme breathing problems and headaches, and are now taking anxiety medication, all three parents said.

Members of the Ohio County Principals Association, meanwhile, said the mask warrants had been beneficial in keeping students in classrooms, and they asked the board to continue the mask warrants.

Ultimately, the board members chose not to address the district’s mask tenure at Monday’s meeting and will leave it in place until they consult further with medical professionals and other experts.

Members also voted 3-2 to reverse the trend and reject their own quarantine protocols approved on November 8.

These protocols allowed masked students exposed to the virus to stay in class as long as they didn’t show any symptoms.

The school district will now follow guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and recommended by the West Virginia Department of Education.

These rules require that when a student – masked or unmasked – is exposed to COVID through a student who is not masked, both students must quarantine themselves at home for 10 days, that they have symptoms or not.

Member Grace Norton changed her vote from last month and sided with members Christine Carder and Pete Chacalos in voting yes to repeal the new protocols, while board chair David Croft and member Molly Aderholt voted no. The two attorneys, Croft and Aderholt worked together to craft the protocols that were repealed Monday night.

The school district currently has 46 students in quarantine, according to Superintendent Kim Miller. She suggested to the board that students and staff continue to wear masks in school buildings and on buses at least during the holiday season.

But Carder said his concerns were more about the school district’s quarantine policy approved on Nov. 8.

“I would like to suggest that we set it aside for a while so that we can review it and get some feedback from our nurses and people who work with it, so that everyone understands that and what to do with some of the questions that arise. ‘is high. ”she told board members.

Carder said that since students in Ohio County schools are required to wear masks, there shouldn’t be so many quarantines.

Aderholt said more parents she spoke to were concerned about CDC and state quarantine procedures than about requiring students to wear masks.

“We need children in school,” she said. “They don’t need to be healthy at home. … It is bad policy to send these children home when they are not sick and very unlikely to be sick.

There is also a need to protect teachers and keep them healthy, Carder and Norton said. There is currently a shortage of substitute teachers, and in some cases the remaining teachers at a school have had to take over the classroom from a teacher with COVID who will be absent for at least 12 days.

“We’re not going to have enough people to cover,” Carder said.

Chacalos said “no one on this advice is an expert” when it comes to COVID.

“I don’t see why we don’t listen to what the CDC is telling us,” he said. “It sounds like we want to listen to the CDC on something that supports our point of view, but we don’t want to listen to the CDC on something that does not support our point of view.”

Croft only said he believed the repeal of the protocols “was a step in the wrong direction” by the board.

Gabriella Shaffer told council her daughter had had respiratory and chest problems at school this year. The girl is now taking medication for anxiety.

“It’s not OK,” Shaffer said.

Parent Jessica Powers said she had a child who also suffered from breathing problems and is now taking anxiety medication. She suggested that the child had missed more schools this year “by wearing a mask than without”.

Michelle Schulte Myers said she was a healthcare professional and wondered about the effectiveness of the common cotton mask in the fight against COVID.

Jim Rowing, deputy principal of the Warwood School, represented the Ohio County Principals Association.

“We’re in a better place now,” Rowing told the board. “They have adult eyes on them to make sure they’re okay. They benefit from their parents’ socialization, two meals a day and regularity in their studies. We want to be able to continue this and not go back. “

On unrelated matters, the board approved the retirement of some well-known longtime employees in the community.

Wheeling Park High School Assistant Principal / Athletic Director Dwaine Rodgers retires on June 30 after 36 years in school.

His wife, Rhea Rodgers, a guidance counselor at Warwood School, employed by the school district for 35 years, will join him in retirement.

Additionally, Jane Davis, Executive Secretary to the Superintendent, will also retire on June 30 after a 40-year career in Ohio County schools.

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