School board holds special meeting


Ben Blackie

On Jan. 26, the school board held a special meeting to discuss the return of students. In a 7-2 vote, the board voted for elementary to return with hybrid model on Feb. 8. Secondary to return with hybrid model on Feb 16.

Ben Blackie, Editor In Chief

On Jan. 26, the school board held a special meeting to revise the return to school plan voted on Jan. 14. The meeting began with a presentation from Blair County’s Director of Public Safety Mark Taylor. Soon after, a proposed plan for returning to school was presented by Superintendent Dr. Charles Prijatelj.

“We would recommend going to a hybrid for four weeks, then returning to full,” Prijatelj said. 

“Obviously our goal of the district is to get all of our students back, but do so in a way that is safe, where we can maintain social distancing,” assistant superintendent Brad Hatch said. 

A revised proposal was given by board member Mike Baker. 

Play it safe and see what impact elementary will have on those numbers. If they remain stable and continue to drop, then I think we made a sound decision,”

— Baker said

“I think we have to walk before we run. I’m in favor of a phased reopening. I would like to see elementary following the PDE guidance,” Baker said. “I would like to see us bring elementary back on Feb. 8 and secondary on the 22 on a hybrid.” 

The community was then given the opportunity to discuss their viewpoints on returning to school. 

“This pandemic has certainly been a challenge for us, educators included. We’ve had to modify our craft to continue to provide instruction to our students. But, I think it’s important for you the school board and the community as a whole to know that the teachers want to do what is right by the students in every way,” teacher union president Doug Rosenberry said. “But we also want to provide them with the safest education that we can. I ask that when you consider what our education delivery will look like, that you err on the side of safety for everyone.” 

“I’m hoping that the plan you come up with is for all students, K-12. We all deserve a chance at a face-to-face education, being able to socialize and to have some normalcy. I’m only in seventh grade once. This time is important for me now and my future. I do not have the resources or support I would have in a regular classroom. Although I am not struggling, I feel like I could be learning and doing so much more if I was back in a school setting,” seventh grader Miley Naugle said.

A motion to bring students and staff back on a phased hybrid model was called.

With a vote of 7-2, the school board voted for all teachers to return on-site starting Feb. 8. All special populations, K-12, returning to five day weeks on Feb. 8. Elementary to be on a hybrid model beginning Feb. 8. Followed by a return to secondary on a hybrid model on Feb. 16. All students returning after a consecutive two-week time period with a low transmission rate. The votes are as follows:

Dr. Frank Meloy: Yes

Rick Hoover: No

Ron Johnston: No

Mike Baker: Yes

Ed Kreuz: Yes

Kelly Irwin Adams: yes 

Eric Haugh: Yes

David Francis: Yes

Sharon Bream: Yes

Passed 7-2