The Delaware City Schools Board of Education discussed mask requirements for the upcoming school year, swore in a new student board member, and approved the employment of new administrators during its meeting Monday at Willis Education Center.
As for whether or not masks will be required at the school buildings this fall, Superintendent Heidi Kegley said masks are “welcome” at the district, but at this time, they will not be required in the buildings.
Kegley added there is a federal mandate that requires masks to be worn on school buses, but she said that order currently expires in September. It is unknown whether or not the mandate will be extended.
As for what the future may hold, Kegley said the district is meeting with the Delaware Public Health District on a weekly basis to determine the safest path forward.
“Our plans have to remain flexible,” she said. “We need to base what is happening in our schools on (the health district’s) recommendations as we return for the 2021-2022 school year.”
Kegley said the district will continue to make use of more hand-washing stations, frequent cleanings, and improved HVAC systems at the school buildings.
“I want everyone to remember that we need to be flexible, and we will continue to update as we receive more information,” she said. “We know that although we may agree to disagree, our community can continue to work together as we may need to adjust.”
Board member Matt Weller said he is in agreement with the path the district is taking because it will be easy to require masks if necessary in the future.
Kegley added that vaccinated students who are asymptomatic will not have to quarantine if they’re exposed.
In other board matters, the meeting began with District Treasurer/CFO Melissa Swearingen administering the oath of office to Hayes High School senior Katie Hejmanowski, who will serve as the board’s new student board member. In her new role, Hejmanowski will have a symbolic vote on all board action and will give the student body’s perspective at each meeting.
Hejmanowski said she has already discussed the upcoming school year with students from Hayes and Dempsey, and all the students she talked to didn’t have a problem wearing masks if it meant they were able to stay in school for the entire year.
The board also approved several staffing changes, including approving the employment of Mary Krell as the new principal at Conger Elementary School. Krell previously served as the assistant principal at Schultz Elementary School and will replace Kerri Templeton, who served as the principal at the school for the 2020-2021 school year. Krell said she is excited to step into the role, adding it will be a “special” experience because her children attend Conger.
The district also approved Tyra Baisden as the new assistant principal at Schultz. Baisden previously served as an intervention specialist at Schultz.
Additionally, the board approved the employment of Collin Chambers, who will work in teacher technology at Dempsey Middle School; Fatjona Ndreu, an EL teacher at Hayes; and Dr. Ashley Powers, a French teacher at Dempsey.
The board also approved participation in a bid with META Solutions Cooperative for new school buses, as well as a change order reducing the contract for work at Schultz by $88,751 because the supplies to replace the roof are no longer available. Head of Facilities and Transportation Jason Sherman said the roof replacement will be moved to next summer.
The board will meet next at 6 p.m. Aug. 16. The 2021-2022 school year begins Aug. 18
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter BattishillDG.