South Point schools extend mask use

Published 1:54 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

SOUTH POINT — South Point Local Schools will extend its requirement for masks into at least January, superintendent Mark Christian said on Monday.

“We are thinking of waiting a little longer,” he told the district’s board of education at its meeting.

Christian pointed out that the district began the school year with mask use optional for students and staff, but changed that policy to require them as the year progressed.

He said that all districts in the county, other than Fairland, currently require masks.

“And they’re sending kids home every day,” he said.

Christian suggested the district wait until January, as cases have been rising again.

He said the original plan was once younger students were able to be vaccinated and numbers had gone down, they would drop the requirement.

“But there is a new variant and numbers are up,” he said. “I hate it, too. No one likes wearing them.”

Christian said South Point schools have had 122 positive cases for students and 26 for adults since the pandemic began.

“Most were trickling in, one or two at a time, but the week before last, we had seven and last week, we had two,” he said.

Christian said there were 63 positive cases in the 2020-2021 school year.

“And we’re half way through this year and have twice the amount already,” he said.

He said the Lawrence County Department of Health issued new guidelines to schools on Dec. 3, which said students who have been exposed to COVID-19 can remain in school if masked, while those who are masked at three feet or unmasked at six feet from someone with the virus are not considered as exposed.

In other business, the board:

• Voted to compensate South Point Elementary School assistant principal Bill Christian with the difference for a principal’s salary, as it he continues to fill in at Burlington Elementary. One of the teachers present applauded the move and said they were “thrilled and happy” with the job he is doing.

• Approved membership in the Ohio School Board Association for 2022.

• Approved continuing contracts as presented for the district.

• Approved extending the contract of the transportation/grounds coordinator from a 10-month position to 12 months, making it a 260-day position. Christian said this was due to needs that arise during the summer months for sports teams and grounds work at the schools.

• Discussed adding preschool and special education teachers for the elementary schools.

• Hired non-certified substitute teachers as presented.

• Set the organizational meeting for the board for Jan. 10, followed by the regular board meeting at 6:15 p.m.

• Met in an executive session for about three hours to discuss contract negotiations and an Ohio Association of Public School Employees grievance.