Putnam County Board of Education has no plans to change mask policy


PUTNAM COUNTY, West Virginia (WSAZ) – The controversial Putnam County mask policy was discussed at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, but only by public speakers.

“I think I speak on behalf of the parents, educators, students and families in Putnam County and I say this because (of) the number of calls I have received from parents and educators across. (about) concern for their students, ”said Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association.

WVEA Chairman Dale Lee has called on Putnam County BOE to revoke its current mask policy and implement a new one.(WSAZ)

Lee was one of three speakers at Monday night’s meeting who all spoke in favor of a mask mandate and against Putnam County’s current mask policy. The policy only requires masks for high schools when 25% of students test positive for COVID-19. For elementary and middle schools, 15% of students should test positive for a mask term.

“When you have a policy that says over 300 students at Hurricane High School will need to have COVID before you start any of the mask mandates, you already have a huge spread so (and) that just puts the kids in in danger, “Lee told WSAZ. “I wanted to ask them to rescind this policy.”

Education Council chairman Rob Cunningham said he had no plans to revoke the policy or make any adjustments.

“As far as I know, there hasn’t been anyone on the school board who has any interest in changing or adapting the policy,” Cunningham said. “Of course, if the governor’s office, or the DHHR, or the Putnam County Board of Health demands anything, of course we’ll follow it.”

The new policy also doesn’t require you to keep seating charts, which is essential in helping the health department trace contacts when there is a positive student.

Cindy Farley, chairman of the board of health, told WSAZ they had failed to trace contacts since the new policy took effect last week. On Friday, Farley said schools delivered envelopes or binders with seating plans from each school but did not divide students by class. Farley said they would have to scan page by page to find a single name, if a student is positive, to see who they were around. She said this is not an effective or usable way to contact Trace.

“It’s our job to do and we’re trying to do it, but it’s also a compromise,” said Farley.

“Our policy does not allow seating charts. I spoke to Mr. Hudson about what he provided to the health department, the health department has a full list of our students, ”Cunningham said. “They actually have more than they would have said a local church has a positive person, how do they do this contact tracing? They don’t have a seating plan for every Sunday service, they contact the person who was positive and do the survey from there, I guess that’s the way they have to do it with our schools, the students. .

Farley said she plans to work with schools to try to find a better system.

The next board meeting will be on October 18 at 7 p.m.

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