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EP schools continue to monitor district cases, local COVID data

EAST PALESTINE–All three school buildings throughout the village are working under a tier one face to face learning model with five positive cases and a combination of 39 quarantined students and staff.

“We will continue to monitor district and local data,” Superintendent Chris Neifer advised.

Neifer received additional advisement from the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association during a meeting Tuesday.

In other matters, school board member Ronald Novak continues to reflect his concern regarding the spread of Covid between students and staff.

Novak believes the school could ask about vaccination status because HIPPA only applies to healthcare settings. Neifer countered Novaks comment advising the school district’s attorney believes otherwise.

“We know there are many businesses, restaurants and government that are asking people to get vaccinated,” Novak said questioning Neifer why those same standards do not apply to the school district.

Novak stated he follows the numbers and opposed to what others may believe, he believes the situation is getting worse.

“I get the Vindicator and I try to follow those numbers,” Novak said.

Neifer said he has to weigh the health risk against the educational impact health regulations have in the class room.

“We are looking at a positivity rate of less than one percent,” Neifer said. “Looking at an overview of our constituency. I have a lot more phone calls about not masking than masking.”

Neifer said parents, staff and board members are receptive to conversation.

“There are many different opinions on this whole piece and we will continue to monitor,” said Neifer.

Neifer said the district is prepared with enough resources and system structures to resume remote learning if necessary.

Moving forward, the Board of Education approved a $450 agreement with Columbiana County Family and Children First Council Monday.

The Columbiana County Family and Children First Council provides grant opportunities, wrap around services and other resources to school districts throughout the county.

In other news, Novak raised concerns regarding out of town individuals using the village fields and tearing up the property.

“I wish someone would check into that,” Novak remarked.

In other business, Liz Sherry will be replacing High School Volleyball Assistant Coach Hannah Milstead. Milstead’s workload with Akron Children’s has increased causing her to coach on a volunteer basis.

Lastly, Coffee with the Superintendent will resume on a quarterly basis beginning at 6 p.m. October 14.

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