RSS Board of Education to discuss masks on school buses

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education on Monday could make a decision on complying with a federal order for masks on public transportation.

The issue is on the agenda for Monday’s regular board meeting. The meeting will be at 4 p.m. on Monday at the Wallace Educational Forum. It can also be viewed remotely via The order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires masks to be worn on public transportation, which applies to school buses, and was added to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services toolkit for K-12 schools.

On July 12, the board voted to make masks optional for the upcoming school year. Days later, the state gave districts freedom to not require masks while still recommending they do so. The most recent update to state guidance last week included the new order.

Neighboring Kannapolis City Schools approved its own safety policies for the coming year and masks optional in school facilities with the exception of buses.

In the weeks since the RSS decision to make masks option, COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates have climbed sharply.

The school board on Monday also will receive updates from Rowan County Health Department on the local status of the pandemic, quarantines and vaccination.

In other agenda items:

• The board will review the district’s 2021-2022 capital outlay budget for approval. The budget came in at $3.05 million from projected sales tax share and about $450,000 in carry-over funding. The tax revenue is higher than initially anticipated.

The vast majority of the budget, about $3 million, is dedicated to facility improvements, with $386,731 allocated for furniture and equipment purchases and the remaining $110,000 for purchasing maintenance vehicles.

• The board will review a new contract with Jani-King to extend supplemental sanitation services in its building through the 2022 school year. The cost of services remained the same, and the addendum includes costs not to exceed $495,000.

The funding is divided between all the district’s facilities for projects ranging from storage buildings to auditorium upgrades and outdoor learning facilities.

• The board will review a request to apply for a second school number at Summit Virtual Academy. The school was the district’s largest during the pandemic, but enrollment has dropped to 571, consisting of 332 elementary students and 239 middle school students.

• A final version of  a resolution to lease a piece of unused property in China Grove to Reaper’s Realm Wrestling Club is on the meeting’s consent agenda. The club will make improvements to the site and a 2,400-square-foot block structure on the property in exchange for the first year’s rent. The club intends to pressure wash and paint the unused structure, install HVAC, gravel the parking lot, fix any known issues in the building and repair the plumbing system.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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