Monday, May 23, 2022

Ohio County Board of Education closely watching Musk Bill

Photo by Joselyn King. Ohio County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Rick Jones briefs school board members on bond building projects during a board meeting Monday.

Ohio County Board of Education member Molly Aderholt is hoping state lawmakers will take a stand and ban masks in West Virginia schools.

The West Virginia Legislature is currently considering House Bill 4071, “Parent and Student Health Rights Act.” The bill aims to eliminate mask requirements and limit COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements in West Virginia schools.

This measure is currently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.

Board member Grace Norton, who attended Monday’s meeting by phone, told board members that legislation is something they should keep a close eye on.

On Monday, Aderholt said she would like the Legislative Assembly to take action sooner rather than later and cancel the mandates.

“I hope that in the very near future we can reach a point where our children are not forced to wear them (masks) and worry about the harm that can be done,” Aderholt said. “I hope the Legislative Assembly will do it. If not, we’ll come back here to talk about it.”

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Board President David Croft noted that talking about mask mandates is an “endless discussion.” He said the council is monitoring the bill as the legislature could take the burden of determining mask mandates from the district boards of education.

He reported that the number of reported COVID cases in Ohio County has been steadily declining over the past week.

“We hope this trend continues,” Croft said. “It seems that the situation has remained stable in the last few days.

“It’s nice to see that statistically fewer people are suffering – more people are getting it, but they seem to be suffering less.”

Monday’s board meeting was scheduled to take place at Wheeling Park High School, giving board members the opportunity to review the completed renovations to the building. But late last week, the meeting was moved back to the board’s office in Elm Grove.

“The fire chief just didn’t want to let us tour the public until he signed everything,” Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said. “There are only a few things that need to be done before he can do that.”

Croft asked if it was possible to move the WPHS board meeting to February 14, but Jones said he thought it would be better at the end of the month. The February 14 meeting will take place at 6:00 pm at the board’s office at 2203 National Road, Elm Grove.

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The Board now plans to meet on February 28th at WPHS. The tours started at 4:30 pm, followed by the regular board meeting at 6:00 pm.

Croft said he and Aderholt have been working with the Wheeling Park Commission to reach an agreement on the use of the property, and they expect to present the agreement to the Board of Education shortly. The property that contains most of the new sports ground in WPHS is owned by the Wheeling Park Commission.

“This will strengthen our relationship with Oglebay for the space we will be using for the foreseeable future,” he told the board.

Croft said that the Wheeling Park Commission “has been generous so far” and that both parties want to make a deal in the best interest of all.

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