BOONVILLE, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Boonville Board of Education tabled resolutions about classifying school employees as essential and a trial period of looser restrictions on quarantining students.
At the board's special meeting on Wednesday, members were presented with a trial plan from the Cooper County Health department that could reduce the number of students in quarantine.
Under the trial, if a student comes into contact with a positive case inside of the school, and both parties are wearing a mask, that student would still be allowed to come to class.
The superintendent Sarah Marriott said that 144 students have been quarantined so far, with 22 in quarantine as of Wednesday. She said some have had to stay home for more than two periods.
"This is a significant disruption and can have significant ramifications for that student's learning, as well as his or her mental health status," Marriot said.
This rule would only be allowed if masks are required throughout the whole district. The trial would be stopped if a student deemed a close contact while wearing a mask develops a COVID-19 infection.
The board tabled the discussion in a 6-1 vote, awaiting more information from the Cooper County Health Department about some of the language regarding mask-wearing in younger students.
Board member Steve Litwiller said he agrees with in-person education but is skeptical about loosening restrictions.
"What I'm concerned about is that we get complacent, start to loosen up, then we are back where we started in March that's what worries me the most," Litwiller said.
The only dissenting board member Lisa Leathers said the ball in the court of the board and believes students should be back in the classroom.
"Students with parents that have said I want my student back in the classroom, I understand the risks, I've accepted the risks, my child is not sick, the public health board has given you the option, and we are going to table this?" Leathers said, "That's unacceptable."
The board also tabled discussions about making employees essential, which could change restrictions around the quarantine period for close contacts of a confirmed positive case.
Since Oct. 1, the Cooper County Health Department reported 79 cases of COVID-19 within the Boonville School District boundaries, meaning all residents, not just the school community.
Cooper County has recorded a total of 576 cases of the virus, with 86 active.