STORY UPDATED: Clinton-Massie board to discuss possible change to mask policy; elementary school to close Wednesday through Friday

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]

ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Clinton-Massie Local Schools said Tuesday it will close its elementary school Wednesday through Friday, and also announced it will hold a special board of education meeting Thursday to consider whether to change the current mask policy in which facial coverings are optional.

“We had to do this at the high school last year and we know this can be a strain on families. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes to our fellow Falcon Family members,” stated a CMES Facebook post.

The three days that students will not be in attendance will be calamity days, not instructional days. Teachers will be reaching out to students who need to catch up due to being quarantined, the post said.

According to district data, the district running total of confirmed student COVID cases are 27 as of Tuesday afternoon, with 155 student quarantines. The district running total of confirmed staff cases are 5, with 1 staffer in quarantine. Quarantine numbers do not include positive case isolations.

The board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2 in the high school gym.

Not counting “Call to order”, “Approve agenda”, and “Adjournment”, the items on the agenda are “Public Participation”, “Review/Discuss the Restart Plan for 2021-22”, and “Discuss changes and implementation strategy to current mask policy based on district COVID case counts and administrator recommendations – Board action to be taken if changes are required”.

The current Clinton-Massie face covering policy is stated in the school district’s “Restart Plan 2021-22” document, which the Clinton-Massie Board of Education approved on June 28. For students and staffers, the current policy reads: “As of June 2021, Governor DeWine rescinded the Director’s order requiring the use of facial coverings in education settings. All students [and all staff members] may wear face coverings if desired. The Ohio Department of Health strongly recommends that those who are unvaccinated wear masks while in school.”

Regarding school bus transportation, Clinton-Massie’s Restart Plan was updated in August. “As of 8-17-21, the mandate for masks on buses has been extended to January 18th, 2022.” This is in accord with a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) order.

On Aug. 23, Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Board of Education voted to mandate that masks be worn by all WCS staff and students preK through 12 for the first grading period, which ends Oct. 15.

A number of Warren County-area school districts have already mandated masks.

Regarding public participation at board meetings, Clinton-Massie has procedures and regulations. Among those are: “Any individual properly recognized by the Board President or his or her designee is limited to a maximum of five minutes. The ‘Public Comments’ portion of the agenda shall not exceed a total of 30 minutes. No person can speak twice within the 30 minutes until all who desire to speak have had the opportunity to do so.”

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]