BOE makes masks optional after current mandate ends

Published 10:17 am Friday, March 11, 2022

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The Sumter County Board of Education (BOE) met for their regular meeting on Thursday, March 10, 2022. All members were present. In addition to the typical votes, the BOE decided to not renew the mask mandate which has been in place since the beginning of the school year. The student/parents have an option to choose if they want to wear a mask rather than being required to do so. However, this only applies to the grounds, the mandate will stand on the buses. Rather than making this effective immediately, the BOE chose to require those on property to remain masked until 3.16.2022. The mask mandate has seen several votes over the school year, including one in which Jim Reid motioned for it to be lifted.

In other action of the night the BOE suspended the rules on a policy which was not in compliance with state law regarding public appearances and public involvement before the board. The policy change would now line up with the minimal requirements as set forth in Georgia law. Abbis Bivins, the policy committee chair, both opposed suspending the rules as well as opposed changing the policy to be inline with the law.

Unanimously agreed upon were the 2022-23 school calendar, a memorandum of understanding with the Sumter County Payroll Development Authority, a limited warranty deed for sanitary sewer lift station and easement and an agreement with Western Governors University in regard to student teachers.

The BOE entered into executive session and once back in open session voted and unanimously passed the personnel agenda to include two retirements, ten resignations, one transfer, seven hires, eight family medical leave requests and one paid parental leave.

More information is being gathered on items which came up in the work session. Two of the items are keeping or suspending committee meetings and air filtration systems. The April work session of the BOE will be Monday, 4.11.22 at 6pm and the regular meeting will be Thursday, 4.14.2022 at 7pm. The meetings are open to public and held at 100 Learning Lane. The meeting can also be viewed on the school’s Facebook page, Sumter County Schools. Interested parties can also view meetings archived on the page as well.

The members of the Sumter County BOE are Rick Barnes, EJ Jackson, Sylvia Roland, Carolyn Hamilton, Vincent Kearse, Patricia Harris and Abbis Bivins. There is a contact telephone number for them listed on the Sumter County Schools website page.