ADAMS TOWNSHIP — The Clinton-Massie school board voted 3-2 Tuesday night to require students in grades 3 through 12 to wear face coverings in most school settings when they return to school this fall.
The requirement includes in the classroom when working in small groups, conducting experiments, or when the students cannot maintain at least 6 feet social distancing.
Students in those grades also will be required to wear masks when on the bus; when entering and exiting school buildings; and when in hallways during transition periods to class, lunch, restroom or recess.
Teacher-directed mask breaks will be carried out during the day, according to the C-M face covering policy.
Looking ahead to the reopening, plans call for a three-day staggered start for students from Wednesday, Aug. 26 through Friday, Aug. 28. The first day when all C-M students are presently scheduled to be in school — that is, if they’re not taking the full-time Virtual Education option — will be Monday, Aug. 31.
Like other area schools, families in the Clinton-Massie school district have the option of a Virtual Education Learning Model. With this format, students learn online from home.
Though this online-based curriculum will align with state standards, it may not mirror the same pacing, sequence or activities as the district’s in-building instruction.
Clinton-Massie teachers will facilitate, monitor and support the Virtual Education option, but they will not deliver live instruction. Aug. 3 is the deadline to choose this option.
Eight members of the public or C-M staffers gave input prior to the board members’ vote.
Joe Hollon, incoming president of the Clinton-Massie Education Association (CMEA) union, said in a survey of CMEA membership, 74 percent of the respondents preferred reopening with mandated masks for students.
Similarly, 71 percent of respondents indicated they would feel either uncomfortable or very uncomfortable returning to the classroom if masks were merely a strong recommendation rather than a requirement.
Board member Mike Gorman said although he’s not for students wearing masks, he would go with the majority of the community and vote for mandatory student masks. He said his vote was based upon teacher survey results and what the majority of parents have said.
School board President Jeremy Lamb and board member Kathleen Norman also voted to require student masks, while members Andy Avery and Mike Goodall voted against.
Goodall said he knows board members are here to represent the community, and he doesn’t think the community supports wearing masks. He also said a cloth mask is not effective in stopping a viral pathogen.
Norman said she does not want to lose “a Clinton-Massie Family member” to COVID-19.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.