The Pocahontas County Board of Education reviewed the latest COVID-19 protocols from the West Virginia Department of Education at its January 11 meeting.
Superintendent Terrence Beam was attending a superintendents’ conference in Charleston, so Ruth Bland, director of special education, student services, transportation and testing, discussed the new protocols with the board.
Beam was in contact with Bland during the meeting and shared, through email, that a lot of the superintendents at the conference were upset with the new protocols which may change before they are even implemented.
“We received guidance on December 27 – the updated COVID protocols,” Bland said. “They may change it as early as tomorrow, so [Beam] said there are a lot of superintendents that are quite frustrated with this because you’re barely in school for two weeks and then you’re going to change your protocols again from the state department.”
When discussing the school re-entry plan and implementing changes, the board approved altering the plan to include the new state protocols.
Despite urging from board member Sam Gibson to implement a mask mandate requiring all staff, students and visitors to wear a mask at all school facilities, the board voted to continue to follow the protocols and re-entry plan until superintendent Beam determines that the plan needs to be revisited.
To review the COVID-19 Protocols from the WVDE, visit wvde.us/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/School-Recovery-and-Guidance-Document-DEC-2021-v1.pdf
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• Up to six Pocahontas County High School band members to attend the West Virginia University Honor Band program, traveling by private vehicle to WVU in Morgantown, February 10-12. Registration and lodging paid by PCHS Band Boosters.
• Marlinton Elementary School former fifth grade students – current Marlinton Middle School seventh grade students – to travel by chartered bus to Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg, Tennessee, June 1 through June 3. Trip to be paid for by fundraising.
• Green Bank Elementary-Middle School fundraisers – pie fundraiser, wood raffle, silent auction and Treasure on the Mountain raffle.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Requested transfer of Joseph M. Judy, as general maintenance/truck driver/groundsman/sanitation plan operator/heating and air conditioning/mechanic II to school bus operator for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay, effective January 13, for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. Term of employment is 99 days in addition to the days already worked. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.
• Employment of Maria L. Hall as mentor for Darla J. Huddle, effective for the 2021-2022 school year, at $22 per hour, not to exceed 50 hours or $1,100.
• Employment of Amanda R. Buzzard and Jay V. Miller as substitute teachers for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay, based on degree and experience, for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year, as needed.
• Volunteer Dr. Sue Hollandsworth as substitute teacher at Hillsboro Elementary School, for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year, as needed, for emergency use only.
• Employment of Joshua D. Long as substitute school bus operator for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay, effective January 13, for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year, as needed, pending proper certification.
• Employment of Shonda E. Carr as head baseball coach at Pocahontas County High School, for the 2021-2022 season, at a supplement of $1,125, pending sufficient number of players to make a team.
• Volunteer coach Kendra F. Taylor for fourth and fifth grade basketball at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School for the 2021-2022 season.
• Resignation of Janet L. Cole, per her request, as substitute aide, substitute cook and substitute secretary for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to January 3.
• Permission to post half-time teacher of physical education/health at Pocahontas County High School, commencing the 2022-2023 school year. Term of employment shall be 200 one-half days.