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Crestview contracts extended

NEW WATERFORD — With so many things up in the air with COVID-19, the teachers and staff at Crestview schools decided to carry over their contracts for another year.

On Wednesday, the board of education voted to approve a one-year extension, which includes a 1 percent pay increase, for both the members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Chapter 300 and the Crestview Education Association. There is also the possibility of a 1 percent base salary increase if the upcoming five-year forecast shows the school will have a sufficient minimum $700,000 carryover balance for the years 2022 and 2023.

Superintendent Matthew Manley told the board the staff understands the pandemic and effects on the state budget has made it difficult for the school district to know where the budget will stand for now, so they agreed to extend the contract for now. The current contract was set to expire in August of 2021.

Even though many things are abnormal, the school is getting ready to resume in-person classes again. Manley said about 80 percent of Crestview’s students are expected to return to the classroom on Jan. 19. School officials are hopeful that by the fourth nine weeks, many more students will return.

Additionally, Manley reported that discussions are underway to have school staff prioritized with vaccinations, and new quarantine protocols should help keep more students in the classroom. Even when a student sitting nearby tests positive for COVID-19, if the students sitting near them are wearing a mask, sitting with the Plexiglas dividers between them and showing no symptoms, they will no longer need to Quarantine.

Board member Dr. Edward Miller also reported it is now easier to test out of quarantine. A person who shows no symptoms five days after an exposure, who tests negative for COVID-19, can now return to the school.

Manley explained that changes are critical to keeping students in school because at one point one positive student meant 50 had to quarantine.

During her presentation to the board, middle school principal Allison Lemaster reported the school is tentatively planning a trip for eighth graders and freshmen to Washington, D.C., in May. The freshman students had their trip canceled last year when they were in the eighth grade. Lemaster said the hope is with social distancing, mask wearing and other precautions, the trip will be able to happen this year. Right now, the dates of May 17-18 have been scheduled for the trip and are being held.

Another upcoming school opportunity in some grade levels is a chance to study the Hellbender salamander, a local species with a new program kicking off next week.

Student liaison Chloe Downey said she just wanted to thank all the teachers and staff for continuing to try to hold some events, like homecoming, the musical, sports and even a student game night planned online for Jan. 23. She said students appreciate that the school is still trying to let the students do as many things as possible, while keeping them safe from COVID-19.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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