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SHERWOOD — A group of visitors attended the Central Local Board of Education meeting Monday, to speak out against the school imposing a mask mandate on students and staff in the future.

In addition, the board heard a projects update, and learned an open house is being organized for the public to see the renovations undertaken this summer.

A handful of members of the group spoke to the board about not putting a mask mandate in place (the district does not currently have a mandate), telling the board, masks don’t work and don’t make the students wear them, and the district needs a better plan for quarantining, just to name a few comments.

Superintendent Steve Arnold shared that at the present time, the district does not plan to implement a mandate.

“Based on the feedback I’ve received recently, we’re currently sticking to the status quo of making masks optional, and we will continue to evaluate the plan as the year goes on,” said Arnold. “Students and staff are highly encouraged to wear masks, as it eliminates the need to quarantine, if it is worn properly.

“If students or staff are vaccinated, they don’t have to quarantine,” added Arnold. “I understand the vaccine is only available for everyone 12 and older, but that’s still close to 50% of our student population. I’m not advocating one way or another for student vaccinations, it is entirely a parent’s choice, but the fact remains if a student does get vaccinated, they don’t have to quarantine.”

In his report, Arnold stated the administrative team has had several discussions about how to handle lesson plans for students who are quarantined, and that a preliminary plan is in place for short-term absences.

“We’re treating students who are quarantined like any other absence, with teachers providing lessons for students in various ways,” said Arnold. “It’s similar to how an absence was handled prior to the pandemic. That doesn’t mean we’re not in conversations about how to offer lessons in other ways. But I’m not committing to a remote learning plan at this time.”

About projects, Arnold shared the interior projects at Fairview Middle/High School are down to a small number of minor punch-list items. A plan is in the works for a public open house for community members interested in seeing the renovated spaces.

“We want to make sure everything on the punch list is completed first before we have an open house,” said Arnold. “The punch-list items are not preventing us from conducting school, but we want to have everything finished before we have the open house.”

The board learned the bus garage project and surrounding area continues to be on schedule, and that discussions on Phase II will take place, shortly.

Due to the Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference taking place at the same time as the board’s regular meeting in November, the meeting has been rescheduled for Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

The board met in executive session for the purpose of negotiations and compensation of personnel. No action was taken following execution session.

In other business, the board:

• approved the transfer of Tiffany Betz from a bus aide to a classroom aide, effective for 2021-22.

• OK’d the following supplemental contracts for 2021-22: Jesse Hotmire, National Honor Society; Doug Rakes, assistant boys basketball; Kaden Blair, junior varsity wrestling; and Doug Yagel, fall weight room supervisor.

• employed the following classified substitutes for 2021-22: Briana Love, secretary; and Gail Phillips, food service and custodian.

• voted for the Wood County Juvenile Detention Education Program agreement for 2021-22.

• approved a two-hour delay for teacher in-service, Sept. 20.

• OK’d a World Languages Club field trip to Toledo, Oct. 6.

• voted for the renewal of a three-year depository agreement with the Sherwood State Bank, effective Nov. 5, 2021-Nov. 5, 2024.

• approved permanent appropriations for fiscal year 2022.

• accepted the following donations: $200 from Diehl Cleaning to the general fund (business education); $200 from Averile Lehman to the general fund (business education); $400 from Crossway Painting to the general fund (business education); $200 from Farrell’s Lawn & Garden to the general fund (business education); $200 from Advanced Rehab Technology to the general fund (business education); $145 from Defiance Eagles Aerie 372 to the high school principal fund; $188 from Asbury United Methodist Church to the elementary principal fund; $319 from Fairview Elementary Boosters to the elementary principal fund; $100 from Newcomer, Shaffer, Spangler & Breininger to the FCCLA fund; $200 from Defiance County Agricultural Society to the band fund; and $200 from Defiance County Agricultural Society to the cheerleading fund.

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