BOE discusses COVID precautions, property issues

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Board of Education held a work session Monday morning to discuss several issues including continued updates on COVID-19 precautions and issues concerning the board’s property in Green Bank, referred to as the Slaven property.

While discussing the precautions for the re-entry plan, superintendent Terrence Beam informed the board that Green Bank Elementary-Middle School is under quarantine and closed to staff and students for 14 days due to two individuals at the school testing positive for COVID-19.

The school has gone to remote learning for the two weeks during this time. Beam added that he will stay in touch with the Pocahontas County Health Department as it does contact tracing to ensure the board is up to date in the event there are more positive cases.

The board also discussed the upcoming basketball season and whether or not it is safe to have games this year.

The football and soccer teams were able to play this fall because the games were outside, but there is a concern about having the basketball teams play indoors. There is also a concern about allowing spectators in the gym.

While the board cannot make final decisions during a work session, the discussion did lead to a list of guidelines that will allow a basketball season.

Those guidelines include:

• Using buses to travel unless it is easier for parents to transport students.

• Two tickets for spectators per player for both the home and away team.

• Limit media to two individuals for both the home and away team.

• Temperature checks for everyone entering the school.

• Concessions will be allowed as long as they follow the guidelines.

• If school is closed, there will be no games.

The board also received the following guidelines from the WVSSAC:

• Face coverings of any kind must be worn if social distancing is not possible. This includes the people on the bench and people working at the scorers’ table. Before the game begins, teams meet at center court and shake hands and meet with the refs. The coaches will be able to meet for a pregame conference while socially distant, but without players.

• Athletic trainers and other personnel are not permitted to give out water bottles or cups. Each athlete will be asked to bring his or her own water. This will eliminate the use of water coolers and stations.

• Spectators in attendance will be seated at the fourth row and above. Cheerleaders will be required to wear masks or face coverings during the game.

• The jump ball will be eliminated to begin the game. Instead, the visiting team will be awarded possession to begin the game. Officials will stand six feet or greater away from the player inbounding the ball to resume play.

• Gloves worn by referees will be permissible, and those gloves must be clear. Lastly, the referee typically signs off on the book. Now, the referee will provide the scorers’ table with an index card indicating the names and official numbers for each crew member.

The board also discussed the Slaven property located in Green Bank. The land was recently mentioned by a member of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation at a Pocahontas County Commission meeting. The member requested the commission draft a letter asking the board of education to transfer the land to the GVEDC so that it could handle any sale of the land.

Board president Sue Hollandsworth said that, while the board has in the past year discussed selling a portion of the land to Jacob Meck Construction, there has been no talk of transferring the land to the GVEDC.

The board agreed to have the land surveyed and added that it will continue to uphold the agreement it made with Meck concerning the portion of land he requested to use.

The board also discussed personnel issues and the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan [CEFP].

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