Some Grove City School Board members on Monday had questions and concerns about how the district is handling and sharing COVID-19 information.

During the reorganization portion of the meeting, board members were preparing to vote on the continuation of the COVID-19 ad hoc committee for the next 12 months.

It’s comprised of the chairs of the personnel, finance and educational services committee, and Dr. Constance Nichols is chair of the ad hoc group.

The ad hoc committee has been meeting at 10 a.m. one weekday a month, and anyone can attend virtually or in-person, Nichols said.

The time means that many people can’t attend the meeting, said board members Lee McCracken and Dr. Armando Sciullo.

COVID is bigger than a committee issue; a lot of stuff goes into those meetings, Armando said, noting that his opinion also relates to his job as a physician.

Ryan Thomas agreed, saying that if there’s a big enough COVID issue, it should be part of the regular board meeting agenda.

The committee meetings can run long, so that would extend the length of the board meeting, Nichols said.

She added that the ad hoc committee doesn’t actually vote on anything; any board motions connected to those meetings come through other committees.

Committees do more in-depth work, and they are held during the school day so that the committee has better access to district staff, Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch said.

Hurst wants the COVID conversations to continue, but he values the whole board.

“We’re reacting to things in real time every day,” Finch said of how district leaders stay on top of the virus.

Sciullo asked about the breakdown of cases and contact tracing, and whether the face masks are working.

He is frustrated because he doesn’t know what direction the district is taking in regards to things like the state’s mask mandate for schools.

The numbers are updated on the district’s website, Finch said, with Sciullo replying that he doesn’t look at the website.

Thomas asked if would be acceptable for each work session agenda to include a COVID section. Sciullo agreed.

Because there is often a lot discussed during the ad hoc committee meetings, that information needs to be brought back to the whole board, Hurst said.

Board President Doug Gerwick said the ad hoc committee will be added to the work session agendas before the finance section.

The board voted 9 to 0 in favor of continuing the ad hoc committee.

Also on Monday:

• An executive session was held for about a half-hour before the meeting to discuss personnel issues related to a teacher’s sabbatical leave request and the retirement of a school principal.

• Board members approved the retirement of Jim Anderson, principal of George Junior Republic, effective Jan. 3. Anderson has worked for the district for 24 years.

• Board members approved a sabbatical leave request for Amy Morley from Nov. 23 through April 19.

• Board members received two drafts of the 2022-23 school calendar for consideration. Both calendars have classes starting on Aug. 29 and ending on June 1.

Option one is similar to this school year, said Assistant Superintendent Joshua Weaver.

In option two, students would have fall break from Oct. 7 through 10. In exchange, the Monday after Thanksgiving, typically a big day for hunters, would be a school day.

Option one would mean a “long haul” between Labor Day and November with Oct. 10 being the only weekday off for students until Thanksgiving break, he said.

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