Board of Education approves mask-recommended mitigation strategy to begin Jan. 18


Makayla Archambeault

During the patron comments section of the Dec. 16 Board of Education meeting, Interim Superintendent Tim Ricker listens with the Board to each comment. As Superintendent, Ricker works closely with the board, including Directors Thomas Dunn and Loralee Mondl, whose terms expire this year and will be filled during the April 5, 2022 election.

Makayla Archambeault

A capacity crowd showed up for the Dec. 16 Board of Education meeting at Crestview Middle School primarily to voice their opinion on the proposal to update the Rockwood Safe Together Plan concerning COVID mitigation strategies.

With security guards at every entrance and throughout the aisles, shouting patrons caused BOE president Jamie Bayes twice to call for a five-minute recess, and several patrons to be removed during the evening.

After patron comments heavy on the side of ending the mask mandate, Interim Superintendent Tim Ricker presented the new mask-recommended mitigation strategy, and answered questions from board members.

Following a motion by director Tamara Jo Rhomberg, the Board voted 4-2 to move the implementation date to Jan. 18 from the originally proposed date of Jan, 3 to line up with the end of first semester. The rational from Rhomberg was to allow middle and elementary school students time to get vaccinated, implement the plan at a natural break in the academic year for high school students and prevent the consistent spikes in positive cases following breaks.

The Board also discussed the portion of the plan that states if the positivity or exclusion rate of students or staff is 4% or more, the specific location affected will implement mask mandates for a two-week period and then will return to a mask-recommended environment and decided to keep that number

After discussion, the Board decided to keep the original plan for strategies in place with the 4% rate and decided to continue to consult professionals and change the percentage if they find it necessary.

The proposal passed 6-0.