HOPKINS, Mo. — With a vote of 6-1, the North Nodaway Board of Education lifted its mask mandate during last week’s board meeting held in the high school cafeteria.

After a recommendation from Superintendent Chris Turpin, board member Jerime Bix moved to remove the mandate. Board member Vicki Riley seconded the motion and most raised their hands in approval. Board president Samantha Brown voted against the lifting of the mandate.

Turpin told the board that after speaking with the Nodaway County Health Department about the few cases in the county and Mosaic Life Care system as well as parents and students, he believed it was a good idea to lift the mandate.

He did mention students, may again run the risk of being quarantined, but that the “COVID-19 fatigue,” is really beginning to take its toll.

Turpin said should the district see its quarantine numbers rise, the board could reinstitute the mandate.

As of Monday, the school has not required students or staff to wear masks during class. Riley asked if masks were still to be required on buses. Turpin said no.

This is counter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order effective Feb. 2. It requires the wearing of masks by passengers and operators on all public conveyances and does include school buses.

Last month, the West Nodaway Board of Education also rescinded its mask mandate, but Superintendent Mitch Barnes said during its meeting that students would be required to wear masks on public transportation because of the federal policy.

Handbook changes

The board approved the first reading of several changes to elementary and high school handbooks.

Two of the largest changes in the elementary handbook changes includes the automatic enrollment into the Kids Care after school program if a student isn’t picked up in a timely manner, and the possible addition of late fees for late preschool fee payments. Principal Ashley Marriott said some parents have allowed their past due accounts to reach upward of $500 before paying them.

On the high school side, Principal Roger Johnson said a lot of the proposed changes involve wording changes. He noted the school plans to add a way to recognize students with an academic letter and those who have scored a 30 on their ACT to “try to put a little more focus on academics.”

Another change will involve setting an overnight field trip policy.

“I think there should be some kind of standard expectations,” said board member Cari Cline.

Johnson said he would talk with FFA leader Troy Nally to discuss how its behavior expectations are handled on the FFA trips.

Ballfield repair

Turpin told the board that Athletic Director Cody Jenkins had several people look at the baseball field. The consensus is the field needs 40 tons of topsoil mixed with 20 percent sand to fill in the low spots and about four pallets of Turface, to help with field drainage and absorption. The field also will require one pallet of mound builder.

He said the estimated cost of the project is $3,180. The district has secured a $2,500 donation toward the project.

Turpin also suggested someone look at the goal posts to decide if they can be moved, repaired or other options for them.

Other news

  • Board members approved the first reading of the 2021-2022 academic calendar. Turpin said the first day of school is set for Wednesday, Aug. 25. The calendar shows 170 student attendance days and 180 staff days.
  • Turpin told the board he has contacted State Rep. Allen Andrews, R-Grant City, and State Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, and expressed his hope they will vote against Senate Bill 55 and House Bill 920. According to his report, the Senate bill would expand charter schools, vouchers and MOCAP. The House bill would move school board elections to November, costing schools more money for elections because fewer jurisdictions would split the costs. He noted that it would also make the elections more partisan and cause filing to happen in the summer months.
  • Graduation is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 16 in the gymnasium.

Personnel

  • The board approved adding Casey Riedel to the substitute teacher list.
  • In closed session, the board approved continuing the employment of Marriott as elementary principal and Roger Johnson as middle and high school principal for the 2020-2021 and 2022- 2023 school years.
  • Heaven Jackson submitted her resignation as Maintenance Supervisor, effective March 23.
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