YATESVILLE – The Pittston area monthly meeting on Tuesday was brief with mostly routine votes, but the question of mask requirements was raised by a resident who asked the school board how they made the decision – even before the state mandate – to require masks in schools.
Board chairman Frank Serino said board members reviewed “many different articles” and information sources, including research according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that a mask warrant helps “protect children” from the COVID-19 virus, and “came to a consensus regarding masks.
“Why don’t parents have a choice? The man asked. Serino replied that he understood the desire to make individual decisions, but that “We collectively have responsibility for 3,000 children.”
After the meeting, Superintendent Kevin Booth said the district had recorded seven confirmed cases of the virus among students since school started in late August, although none have been in high school. He did not know how many teachers or students had been vaccinated, but said the district was considering the idea of taking advantage of a state program to test unvaccinated employees weekly – a decision the superintendent from the Hanover region, Nathan Barrett, said will be taken in this district.
Booth, the district is also working on a “dashboard” on its website to keep parents and residents up to date with COVID-19 cases in the district. And he said there had been very few warrant waivers by students, noting that the district required something from a doctor before granting a waiver, and they were still looking for other options. mitigation, such as a face shield if the student can wear this.
During a short voting session, the board of directors:
• Approved the retirement of teacher Kim Rugletic and part-time cafeteria employee Barbara Slusser.
• Approved the appointment of Alexis Saldana and Rachelle Baldwin as parent educators, Frank Barberie as COVID-19 long-term replacement and student computer support teacher, and Mary Lou Callaio, Margaret Chernouskas and Kelli Kowalczyk in as building secretaries.
Booth said the COVID-19 long-term substitute positions are funded by federal COVID-19 grants and have become necessary due to a shortage of substitute teachers as well as an increase in the number of teachers taking a maternity leave.