Covid Protocol FAQs
1. Will you revoke the face masking policy and institute an optional mask policy instead.
Mr. Tudor will review COVID-19 numbers and other relevant information monthly at our regular board meeting. Following that review, the board will determine the COVID-19 protocols that will be implemented for the next month through an action item on the board agenda.
2. Mrs. Herman and Mr. Stavnezer are both members of the Wayne County Career Center School Board as well as the Wooster City School Board. Can you clarify your position as in one case the Wayne County Career Center is recommending a mask-optional policy while Wooster City Schools is requiring masks?
Mr. Stavnezer and Mrs. Herman are both members of a 12-person Wayne County Career Center School Board. The board represents all districts in the county, not just Wooster City Schools. In addition, the WCCC is an optional school where all students are eligible for additional protection through vaccination if they so choose.
3. Why doesn’t the district survey parents and publish the results on whether the mask mandate is supported?
The school board very much appreciates the feedback they receive from the community. Currently, guidance from multiple health agencies such as the Ohio Department of Health, Wayne County Health Department, American Association of Pediatrics, and Center for Disease Control indicate that wearing a mask offers protection to the other person. Therefore, simply allowing individual choice would not ensure equal protection for all students.
4. Will there be a vaccine mandate?
The school board recognizes that mandating a vaccination is a significant step from requiring a face covering. The school board has had no conversation regarding making a COVID-19 vaccination required for eligible students. If that became something that the board decided to consider, the community would be made aware and there would be ample opportunity for public input.
5. Is a face mask policy a violation of federal and/or state law?
No. The school board is within their legal and ethical boundaries to issue protocols that help keep people safe. The O.R.C. 3313.67 provides school districts and boards of education the authority to implement protocols that prevent the spread of communicable diseases, specifically, the board of education of each city, exempted village, or local school district may make and enforce such rules to secure the immunization of, and to prevent the spread of communicable diseases among the pupils attending or eligible to attend the schools of the district, as in its opinion the safety and interest of the public require. Federally, courts have heard several cases on the ability to mandate masks and other health protocols. In reviewing one of those cases, Chief Justice Roberts stated that "our Constitution principally entrusts the safety and the health of the people to the politically accountable officials of the States to guard and protect. When those officials undertake to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties, their latitude must be especially broad."
6. What scientific data is the school board using to make Covid-19 protocol decisions?
The school board relies on national, state, and local health organizations as well as university research. Please refer to the links below for further information and examples of the materials we are referring to as we make decisions.
7. Why hasn’t the school district adopted all recommended Covid-19 protocols such as masking preschool students or maintaining six feet social distancing?
If there was no disruption to learning, additional safety measures suggested by our health agencies would be implemented. However, the school board must conduct a cost-benefit analysis with each decision. For example, masking is very difficult for our preschool students and we have implemented masking in grades K-12 to allow teachers more flexibility to engage in instructional best practices without the constraints of six feet social distancing. However, we continue to implement layers of protections and continually assess our protocols to determine whether adjustments need to be made.
8. Does a district have the legal authority to quarantine a healthy child from school and is the quarantine a recommendation or requirement?
The legal authority for a quarantine does not come from the school district, it comes from the health department. The school district is acting under the authority of the health department. The District is required to cooperate with the local health department in the prevention and control of epidemics (R.C. 3313.68), and is also separately empowered to make any rules necessary to govern individuals entering its grounds (R.C. 3313.20), and to prevent the spread of communicable disease among students (R.C. 3313.67). While these statutes do not permit the District to impose a strict quarantine, which generally requires the person to remain at home, they do authorize the District to prohibit an individual from being present on district property. In fact, the District is legally prohibited from allowing a student on campus who is subject to a health department quarantine (R.C. 3707.16).
9. What about other mitigation strategies, such as improved air quality?
There are several ventilation and air purifying systems available for districts to purchase. The District continues to evaluate additional mitigation strategies to reduce the spread of Covid-19. If the effectiveness of these systems outweigh the cost, the District will implement additional safety measures. Currently, we encourage classrooms to keep doors and windows open when possible, we sanitize surfaces often, and we bring in outside air through our available HVAC systems.
10. What is the district doing to address the social and emotional impacts of the pandemic?
The District is fully committed to the social and emotional health of our students. The district contracts with Anazao for extensive clinical counseling and home liaison services. The district also utilizes One Eighty for prevention services, Ohuddle for mentoring, and The Village Network uses Title ID funds.