Johnston school board discusses mask mandate
The Johnston County Board of Education meets to decide if students and teachers need to continue wearing masks in the classroom.
Miss Jackson. Please let the record noticed that we have all board members present fixed or on virtual with us. And mr carroll is on his phone with so we have all seven board present at this time. Before we go into our meeting I'd like to call him. Mr Wooten to give the invocation followed by Miss Andrews with the pledge of allegiance. Let's go to prayer Lord, we were so thankful for this day and the many opportunities we have to honor and serve you and as well as serving other people in johnston county, we continue to pray over our fellow board members that recently lost loved ones. What is actually continue to give them peace and strength as we move forward. Lord also continue to touch and protect our students and our staff that may be going through some type of sickness or hardship shit. Uh we just ask you to continue to protect them and may we honor and glorify you and all the decisions that we have to make today and we carefully give you all the praise and glory injected man. Amen. Amen would you join me for the pledge of allegiance? Yeah, I pledge allegiance to the flag, the flag of the United States of America America and to the republic. The republic for which it stands. One nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice. All right, thank you at this time I would have her executive session for uh for the purpose state of the agenda as outlined in general statute, I have a motion suburb mister mister Su has questions. Okay I just wanted to remind everybody that since we're completely virtual before you make a motion or begin debate, you need to identify yourself by name. Thank you. So I entertain a motion to go into closed session for the purpose stated on our agenda. I think Miss Sessoms was that you that made the motion uh Andrew uh Lynn Andrews made it and and very festival thing. Okay, we have emotional second. You're just being a virtual will go and O'connell votes starting with Mr Wooten Mr Bird. Yes. Mr carroll yes. Mr johnson. Yes, Miss S Yes, Miss Andrews. Yes. And I vote yes. Motion carries 70. Will now close to Uh huh. Yeah. All right. This time we're back in the open session in the One item that we need to discuss today, a Senate Bill 654 is everybody knows this is something that just went into law that we have to uh states that we have to vote on face coverings on a monthly basis. And so, you know, um how to respect from business Sessoms, we we wanted to wait and and today um we have this on our agenda. So I'm gonna open it up uh for for a month. Okay, carol here, I would motion that we continue to mask mandate policy as already approved based on the information we received that are meeting from our hospital chief medical officer and continue on until the data gets better. I terry Sessoms to your our second that motion. Okay so we have a motion from Mr carroll and a second from a Sessoms to maintain face coverings at the current time until further data reflect an opportunity for us to go to No, no face coverings any discussion. This is Lynn Andrews. Um I would just like to uh mention uh an idea here that we continue with the mask mandate. We certainly want to look at um at meeting with Dr Pearson and Dr Pierce and any other personnel that are relevant to look at the metrics in our county to consider when the mass mandate might be lifted. We certainly want to work closely with Dr Pearson and she is willing to do that. I have spoken with her about that. So Chairman Sutton, if you're okay with that, um I would like to move forward um at the you know, consensus of the group that perhaps myself and another board member. I don't know if Mr Wood and Mr Johnson, anybody else that might want to join me um to be glad to be on that committee and and come up with the data where you always feel comfortable doing with that mask. Yeah. And making an obstacle at least? Yeah, I just think it's we just need to move forward with this and look at this opportunity that we have so that that's just an idea um to give us a place of reference, I completely agree with that Miss Andrews. Um and if there's anything that I can do to help facilitate, you know, to serve on that committee or whatever, but um you know, I I believe that it's vitally important that in the spirit spirit of transparency that we have a metric established and so that parents um uh know what that looks like and and you know, give them some hope that this that this is not forever Miss Andrews. Can you as you guys are brainstorming and moving through this process first? I think it's, you know, it is an opportunity for us to take a strong look at. But while you're going through this, if you can identify the metrics pieces that you all will be looking at, you don't have to necessarily do it today, but maybe once you all meet that you can provide that so that we can relate that to the public so that they understand what you have. You all have come up with. I think it's vitally important that we have somebody that is pro uh oh, choice for for mask as well as somebody that's pro face covering so that we can have both both parties are represented at the table um when these, when these items are being discussed. So um definitely think the wooden or mr johnson one of the two and I think mr johnson Mr Wooten has already, he acknowledged he will do that. And if in the event that Mr Wooten is out of town. Mr johnson, would you be willing to sit in on that committee? Absolutely. And I was just gonna ask dr Bracy. I know we went down this road before with virtual learning versus face to face learning and I'm hoping, I don't know how long we're going to proceed down this path, but hopefully we can come up with an idea contingency plan of some kind where a choice would be based on a site by site basis. I don't know if, I mean, you know, we've been dealing with this now for what? A year and a half. And if this thing is going to continue to go this way, maybe we can develop some plans, some contingencies where you have a site for our staff that does not want to wear the mass mass optional pair them with students. Um you know, I think that that would be an idea and again, this could be over in six months or a year or whatever or a month. But if we can just come up with some kind of plan because there's people who want their Children not to wear mask. People who don't want their Children to wear mask, there's people that just want to be in school that could care less about the mask. So if we can accommodate everyone in the sense where we can develop a site by site plan where you have sites to say, okay, you want to work here, You want to be a teacher here or whatever. If we come up with something because you know, it's been a year ago, a year and a half ago, it was three months. All we need three months. All we need six months. All we need is a year. And so we keep going down this path. At least we could come up with some contingency or some plans even if we never use them. So I would ask that we've got a department of Academic Innovation. They do a good job. Maybe we can come up with something innovative for them. I think that's a great idea. I think all of us got got some information from a local pediatrician family practice doctor today that basically said vaccine approval along with current peaking of the cases has, you know, but it's also saying that Pfizer has submitted a approval for the vaccine for ages 5 to 11 and and they're optimistic about and maybe the next month that we this vaccine will be available for that age group. So there there's things that are continuing to move in the right direction as far as just giving us good hope on that. So, I agree with you. Mr johnson. We gotta we gotta provide some opportunities for each everyone that's that has students in johnson County public schools. So let me let me ask this question. Mr johnson, are we talking about having certain schools with mask optional. Yes sir. Yes sir. So you have elementary school a if you choose not to wear a mask, that's not right for your family. We're gonna have that side available if you are an employee of johnston County schools and you don't want to wear a mask and we're gonna play matchmaker here, much like your virtual in person when we're going through that teacher pulling double duty that along that same premise and concept that I think you and I and DR King talked about maybe Miss leathers was in there too. But along that same premise of it's a site by site basis and you know, we it will take a lot of logistical work. I'm sure there's people in the district right now watching, rolling their eyes. Not just because I'm talking about because of the idea will create a significant amount of work. So that right there in itself is a burden, but you know, you know, a year and a half ago, we didn't know how long this was going to go and I just don't see an end in sight. So we need to start coming up with some plans to accommodate people. And yes to answer your question. Doctor, basically it would be site by site employee choice. Teacher choice and then your mandate the only thing I see Mr johnson, you were talking about the disco is transportation from you know, somebody from one end of the county to the other. You know, there goes right out of the gate but we can brainstorm this and see if there's any any way that we can accommodate this if we're gonna because we don't know what what well how long we're gonna be here. But the thing is, you're right, your your past. So hey Todd, if they're willing to stand on the side of the road and hold up signs, they're willing to drive somebody. So if they feel that strongly about it, they'll drive them. I totally agree with you. I'm just worried about the kids that, you know, may not have that opportunity but want Troy and they have to have a bus. I totally I totally understand and agree what you're saying. I look forward to sitting down with dr pierce and looking at all options. Just reminder that even though they want choice on the school bus, there is no choice if I remember correctly, you're gonna wear a mask on the school bus regardless. Let's consider public transportation and dr pierce. If I said something incorrect, please correct me. Oh, I guess I didn't. So I just want to back up for clarification. Y'all are good with the group getting together. Have the committee getting together and talking about the metrics. So we're good for that. Okay. Yes. What I was doing escape. Okay, carol here, I would say, you know, we had data and metrics that we used last year through the health department to come back to school in person. And I would strongly recommend that we listen to dr Pearson and the metrics out of our health department and hospital because we came back last year and we were more successful in finishing the year. And our goal should be to keep these Children in the classroom and not have to go to this virtual stuff. Yes sir. Mr carroll and in my questions and conversations with dr pierce, Even if you have a school that the boy wants to get from generation to becoming mask optional, we still don't want those 800 kids quarantine for an extended period of time. So as as we look through all these options will consider all of that well and I think it would take care of again what I would encourage you doctor Bracy is as we look at these options uh you know, as any business person, those organizations cannot do but so much and function properly and I understand what we're asking to look at. But I also want to be very cautious of trying to over promise stuff that we will not actually be able to deliver, understand understood. Yes sir. Any other questions or comments? We'll be very pragmatic about that. Thank you. We have a motion on the floor from Mr carroll to remain with face covered with a second mrs Sessoms. So at this time we'll call a boat roll call, vote and this is to maintain the face covering starting with Mr wooden uh Miss Andrews. Yes. Mhm. Mr Bird. Yes. Mr johnson. No. Mr carroll. Yes. Okay. MS assassins. Yes. And I vote no Motion carries for three to maintain face coverings. At this time. At this time I'll entertain a motion to adjourn Motion by Mr Wooten. 2nd Albert 2nd by mr Bird. Mhm. Roll call started with Mr assam's. Yes. Mr johnson. Yes, Miss Andrew. Yes. Mr Bird. Yes. Mr Wooten. Yes. Mr Carroll. Yes, I thought yes. Motion carries 70. We're now adjourned. Thank you. Thank you all.