WILMINGTON — Wilmington City Schools (WCS) students and staffers who don’t wear a required face covering due to a medical reason will be asked for medical documentation for school administrators to have on file.
By state order, all school teachers and other staff must wear face coverings at school; and by WCS policy, all WCS students must wear face coverings (masks) while riding on the bus.
The Wilmington school board met in regular session on Monday, its first meeting since Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statewide mandatory mask order for people out in public that went into effect last Thursday evening. That order will last until it is officially lifted.
As required of all Ohio school districts, the WCS Board of Education adopted a student face coverings policy Monday. As previously reported, if the state of Ohio’s warning system puts Clinton County at an Alert Level 3 (red level), Wilmington students will be required to wear face coverings in all school settings.
The wording in the policy approved Monday indicates if Clinton County is at an Alert Level 3, “and/or the Governor has issued a state-mandated order, the Board [of Education] supports that students will be required to wear face coverings in all school settings.”
With student face coverings on the bus required, along with current district policy that face coverings will be “highly recommended” elsewhere when six feet of social distancing is not practical, WCS Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart suggested that families and students take the time to locate masks they find comfortable.
The superintendent also said the district plans to make available breakaway lanyards to help prevent the youngest students from losing or scattering their face masks.
WCS has ordered “sneeze guards” as one more safety measure among multiple prevention efforts, she said. According to school officials, the prevention effort to stop the spread of the virus takes a multiple-layer approach.
This includes: vigilantly assessing for symptoms; frequently washing and sanitizing hands; thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing shared surfaces; practicing 6 feet of social distancing; and wearing face coverings, according to the “WCS Options 2020-21, Frequently Asked Questions” on the WCS website. The FAQ document is described as a working document subject to updating as new information and changes occur.
During public participation Monday, parent Laura Struve said it will be important for schools not to have a virus outbreak where a lot of teachers get sick, which is bad in itself and which also would impact students because their teachers would be out of the classroom for extended periods of time.
Struve also suggested the face covering policy be viewed as part of the district’s dress code where, like a student wearing too short a skirt, the student can expect the violation to be addressed.
The thrust of Struve’s first comment seems to have also been on WCS administrators’ minds. The Board of Education approved McCarty-Stewart’s request it hire three additional permanent substitute teachers, in addition to the one permanent substitute teacher the district currently has on its roster.
This will allow Wilmington City Schools to have a substitute teacher available daily who has not been exposed to other school districts; who will be trained in WCS’ specific health protocols; and furthermore, they will be able to assist in providing training and orientation to visiting substitute teachers.
The additional permanent substitute teacher positions will be paid for by CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funds.
In business conducted by the school board, members approved two donations to the schools: an $850 cash donation from Wilmington College for the WCS summer lunch program; and one from Amazon which donated various food items valued at $500 and cleaning supplies including more than 15,000 disinfectant wipes valued at $1,200.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.