New Albany Plain Local schools pass resolution for masking pre-k through 6, reprimands board member

New Albany

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH)– New Albany Local Schools will be implementing a new mask requirement for certain students. 

This after being in school for a little over a week. The meeting was several hours long and had about 2 hours of public comment.  

New Albany Plain Local Schools voted on this resolution unanimously and it is temporary. 

It impacts students pre – k through 6th. 

“effective Wednesday September 8th, 2021 through Monday September 27th, 2021 all students attending and staff working in pk through 6th grades shall be required to wear an approved facial covering unless medically exempted in writing,” read Superintendent Michael Sawyers. He brought the resolution on masking to the BOE.  

It was one of the items up for discussion and ultimately unanimously passed by New Albany Plain Local School’s board of education. It’s an item some have been asking for. 

 “Today was very concerning over 7 thousand new cases in Ohio and I don’t want any of our children to be in that number,” said Sarah Higgiston, who says she has been gathering signatures for a petition to implement a mandate.  

There were parents in public comment that spoke out against masking as well.  

Greg Walter spoke during public comment saying, “We do not support a mask mandate because we do not believe a mask mandate is in the best interest of children.” 

Superintendent Sawyers says this is about keeping kids in school and avoiding quarantines during what he expects to be a surge in delta over the next three weeks.  

Another topic on the agenda:  social media comments made by one of their school board members — Phillip Derrow.  

Some called for his resignation and others calling to support him during public comment.  

One person named Phil Saken said, “If you’re not going to resign sir, I would ask you please to recuse yourself from any vote, any decision, any discussion about masking, vaccination or anything about our kids health and safety.” 

This over now deleted tweets calling to flush vaccine and mask mandates down to the toilet along with people who called for them. 

 “I think everyone is allowed to have their own opinion and people do that on Facebook on twitter and on Instagram — and I think that he didn’t say anything slanderous,” said Michele Levan, a concerned citizen. She says she looks at what he’s done for the district.  

In the end, Derrow apologized publicly for his words and the board passed a resolution reprimanding him as well. That was unanimous vote of censure, one Derrow voted in favor of too.  

So, two big resolutions passed — but again the big impact will be the new mask requirements starting September 8th for pre-k through 6th students and staff.  

It was also announced Thursday night that lunch seating and times will be changing for the elementary levels. 

This is an attempt to spread out the kids while they’re eating and have their masks off. 

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