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Tyler County Schools Mandate Masks

By Hannah Morris - Staff Writer | Sep 15, 2021

The Tyler County Board of Education met on Tuesday, September 7, for a regularly scheduled meeting. After the minutes were approved, Jason Snider, Physician’s Assistant, gave a presentation providing evidence that proper mask wearing and vaccinations help stop the spread of Covid-19. He backed up his evidence with medical studies that show the benefits of wearing masks in schools.

Mandy Ware, a school nurse from Tyler County Schools, discussed what she has been observing about the spread of Covid-19, and that implementing masks in the schools have slowed the rate of positive cases.

Renee Glover brought up other implementations that could help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the schools. She stated that she has researched online to find ventilation options to help eliminate virus particles in the air.

Steven Thomas approached the Board concerning the Freedom of Choice when it comes to mask mandates. He stated the pros and cons to his view on this issue, and that he stands firm in his belief that everyone should decide for themselves whether to wear a mask or not.

Mr. Highley then discussed the options for wearing masks during the spikes of Covid-19. He wants to keep the kids in school and is willing to do whatever is takes to ensure a safe environment. The option that he advocated for was required mask wearing, with the exception of medical exclusions, which will eliminate the need for contact tracing. Katrina Byers made a motion, which was seconded by Linda Hoover with a 4-1 vote, with Larry Thomas voting against it, the Board approved the motion of mask wearing for all.

Mr. Highley gave a progress report on the projects in the country. Afterwards, the board approved the TCMS Golf schedule for 2021-2022. The Board also approved the multiple FFA trip requests, as well as Ashley Ramsden’s request to take her students and classroom aides to the Harvest Festival.

Several resignations were approved, including Seth Patterson as TCMS TSA effective immediately, Andrew Bailey as Substitute Custodian effective immediately and Heather Leek as Substitute aide effective immediately. New employments were also approved, including Lisa Hartman as After School Tutor and Homebound Teacher at TCHS as needed for the 2021-2022 school year, Brian Bailey as After School Tutor, School days Plus sub and Late Bus Duty at SES as needed for the 2021-2022 school year, Shanna Glover as After School Tutoring as needed at AIB for the 2021-2022 school year and Missy Smith as Homebound Teacher as needed for the 2021-2022 school tear.

After the payment of the bills were approved, President Linda Hoover opened up a discussion of the topics discussed. Several administrators showed their thanks for the Board members for their approval of mask wearing in Tyler County Schools and they expressed appreciation for the support to keep kids in school.

Tara Templeton, another Tyler County Schools nurse, feared the mental repercussions of closing schools. Templeton mentioned it would be detrimental to the well-being of the children, and that implementing masks have helped with the decline of Covid-19 cases, as most cases are coming from contact outside of the schools.

Suzette Miller, Director of Instruction, added that students can not be taught if they are not in school, so they want to do everything that they can to keep the kids there.

Krista DeVaughn, Principal of SES, brought up a point that wearing masks protects the special needs children who are more vulnerable to illnesses. “Mask breaks” in outdoor settings have been implemented so students have a chance to take their masks off during the school day.

Tricia Feldmeier, Director of Personnel, talked about how wearing masks will allow the school nurses to focus on taking care of the students since they will not have to contact trace; the process of contact tracing is time-consuming. The masks also allow for students to attend school safely and will help protect others.

President Linda Hoover showed appreciation for the discussion and closed the meeting.