Citing diminished number of COVID positives and students needing to be  quarantined, the Hancock County Board of Education voted 4-1 to continue the mask mandate until  November 10 at its Oct. 25th meeting.   Board Member Chris Gillette voted no.

     Superintendent Dawn Petrovich shared the following COVID positives and quarantines:  Allison Elementary -6 positives (3 quarantines), New Manchester 9 positives (8 quarantines); Weirton Elementary, – 3 positives (3 quarantines); Oak Glen Middle 11 positives (8 quarantines); Weir Middle – 10 positives (0 quarantines); Oak Glen High 8 positives (2 quarantines); and Weir High – 21 positives (0 quarantines).

    “It is working,” she said.

     Parent Jonathan Pratt spoke to the Board regarding what he feels is a major inequity in the application of the mask mandate.   Pratt said his son has been vaccinated, but is not permitted in school due to his refusal to wear a mask.  While the Board has ordered masks be worn on all school property and transportation, Pratt said students at the Oak Glen Homecoming Dance  were not wearing masks nor were the teachers.  Pratt said that he had gone onto Newbrough Photo website  to view the Homecoming pictures, and saw candid photos of students not wearing masks.  He said one student who had attended the Homecoming tested COVID positive the next day and only her Homecoming date was quarantined.

     “It is not your job to enforce a mask mandate on my son, “ said Pratt who said he would be at every Board meeting until the mask mandate was removed and would seek legal remedies to the situation.

      The Board also received a project outline of the Weir High softball and baseball complex project from McKinley & Associates.  According to Thomas Wippenbeck  plans call for the baseball field  to be constructed  on the former softball field while the softball field would be constructed on space now being used for parking.   Wippenbeck also provided the  Board with alternate plans for additions to the project such as concession stands, restrooms, press box, etc. should additional funding become available.  Start dates would be as early as March 22 for some phases.

     While Board President Danny Kaser thanked  Wippenbeck  for providing alternate additions to the complex, Board member Chris Gillette questioned why certain projects were listed as alternates and adding that the Weir High complex should be equal to Oak Glen’s complex. 

       Kaser noted that the project plans also include classrooms and needed updates to schools and should take top priority.

In other business, the Board:

**Accepted the resignations of Mallory Floyd as Physical Education teacher at Allison Elementary and Joy Rhodes as School Nurse at Weir High;

**Assigned Audrey Tingle as substitute Speech-Language Pathologist;

**Approved Sarah Alkire as GAA Sponsor for Weir High;

**Named Ryan Pasco Assistant Wrestling Coach (unpaid-volunteer) at Oak Glen Middle;

**Named Justin Horstman as Assistant Boys’ Basketball Coach at Weir Middle;

**Granted a Leave of Absence for S. Renee Barber as Custodian II, Weirton Elementary;

**Accepted the resignation of Cody Tanley, Custodian II, Oak Glen Middle and Richard Brant, Countywide Substitute Custodian;

**Transferred Robert Brew, Jr. from Bus Operator #172 to Bus Operator #181;

**Transferred Cindy Chambers from Substitute Cook, Countywide, to Cook III, Central Kitchen;and

**Approved Mac Higgins and Brandon Felton and Substitute Bus Drivers;