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Wellsville BOE encouraged to require masks

WELLSVILLE — As surrounding local school districts implement mask mandates due to COVID numbers, a village parent urged members of the Wellsville Board of Education to follow their lead.

Due to the increase of positive COVID-19 cases and the number of quarantines, East Liverpool began requiring face coverings in their buildings starting Sept. 15. Earlier last week, Gov. Mike DeWine pointed to escalating COVID cases among school-age children.

Before school started, officials opened up COVID vaccination opportunities for children 12 and up as ordered by parents.

During Monday’s meeting, Daniel Winston pointed to the rise in the numbers of students either testing positive for COVID or being quarantined by exposure as a reason to change Wellsville’s policy to mandate masks. In August, Wellsville board members decided to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Ohio Department of Health guidelines in just recommending face coverings in opposition of Superintendent Richard Bereschik’s support of a mask mandate.

Bereschik believed that masks would improve the district’s chances of maintaining in-person learning, especially if the district continued all other mitigations, like social distancing and its sanitization stations. Face coverings on Wellsville buses already are mandatory.

Winston explained that recently 100 students were quarantined due to possible COVID exposure, according to an all call.

“As a village, I hope we can come together,” he explained, adding that today’s numbers are now the same as they were in November 2020.

Board members also hired the following individuals: Valentina Gheorghe; Rachel Beth Engle; Derrick Suggs and Tera Kazee, Garfield Elementary School short hour paraprofessionals; substitutes Linda Lonkert, Sheila McCoy Bachmeier, Mark Jones, Justin Talbert, Karen Kelly, Linda Frischkorn; and Courtney Kountz as a high school band volunteer.

Austin Dalrymple was selected as the delegate to attend the Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference and John Morrow is alternate.

Board member Richard Salsberry also offered condolences on behalf of the board to the families and friends of Edison Local school teacher Todd Smith and former East Liverpool school board member Dick Wolf.

The next regular board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in the media center of Wellsville Junior-Senior High School.

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