Substitute teachers no longer required to wear masks
Substitute teachers in the Webb City R-7 School District will no longer have to wear masks after action Tuesday by the School Board.
Kevin Cooper, assistant superintendent for business operations, requested elimination of the mask mandate because some substitutes are refusing to work.
Board member William Roderique said he’d been told by a substitute that, “‘I would (substitute) if I didn’t have to wear a mask.’”
The rules are different for substitutes because the district is not allowed to ask if they have been vaccinated.
Superintendent Tony Rossetti said staff is working on a proposal to offer certain substitutes full-time work.
Earlier this year, the board raised the substitute salary from $90 to $100 per day.
The board followed other recommendations by Cooper to modify the district’s COVID-19 policy handbook, called the Cardinal Comeback Plan.
Students who would normally be not be allowed to attend classes after exposure to someone testing positive will now be able to stay in school and participate in activities as long as they test negative.
Cooper said that assuming the number of positive cases continues downward “we should ease up on volunteers” entering buildings.
Assemblies and parties in schools are still considered too risky. Although Cooper said the tradition of high school vocal groups performing in elementary schools may be allowed.
Cooper said its “great news” that fewer students are being quarantined after exposure. Those who have been vaccinated do not have to be quarantined. Social distance and masking are other considerations.
Primarily, Cooper said students appear to be exposed away from school in family gatherings – not in school.
The district’s teachers met for a half day on Sept. 24 to set curriculum goals.
“We’re working hard to limit the loss of learning (caused by the pandemic),” said Brenten Byrd, assistant superintendent for instructional services.
MacKenna Kelly and Evan Garrison told the board members about their experiences attending the Missouri Scholars Academy last summer.
The two juniors said that although they would have preferred to attend the academy in person, attending virtually was still worthwhile – especially considering the fact that the 2020 academy was canceled.
Stacy Stockton, high school gifted and enrichment instructor, noted that Kelly and Garrison represent only the top half of 1% of the state’s incoming juniors. They were 330 scholars this year. Based on enrollment, Webb City is only allowed to request to send two students each year to the academy.
Liam Taylor and Noah Yeakey made a convincing case for their proposal to establish a fishing club.
They said more than 400 students signed a petition to start the sport. It will join the National Youth Fishing Association and seek sponsors to help purchase equipment and take club members on fishing trips.
Principal Josh Flora noted that fishing is now a MSHSAA sanctioned sport, and Republic won the championship last year. Lamar, Carthage and Seneca already have fishing clubs.
After board approval, the Redettes dancers are now officially part of the high school band.
Did you notice the Redettes preceding the high school band during the homecoming parade? They’re going to do it again Saturday during the Carthage Maple Leaf Parade.
Redettes sponsor Maddie Baker and band director Butch Owens presented the proposal. Baker, showing a picture of her high school dance team marching with the band, said its a natural combination.
Owens agreed. “We want to have them with us,” he said. He cited the state football championship halftime show in 2019 when the Redettes danced on the field while the band played. “It adds to our experience.”
On the other hand, he noted that it’s unusual because in other places, “The band never gets along with everyone.”
In addition to appearing with the band during parades, the Redettes will be raising money to go on the spring trip to Florida with the band.
The board approved the purchase of a vacant lot on Broadway north of the junior high.
Carlos and Ronda Rivera are selling the lot for $10,000. It has been vacant since a fire.
The district purchased another lot in the same block last month.
The district’s participation in MOSO CAPS was approved by the board.
Missouri Southern State University is offering the program designed to provide authentic career experiences and dual credit to area high school students.
Superintendent Tony Rossetti recommended it, as long as the other two districts considering it, Joplin and Carl Junction, also agree to participate.
At $2,498 per student, the 35 seats assigned to Webb City will cost $87,430 annually.
Joplin’s cost will be $147,382 for 59 students, and Carl Junction’s cost for 26 students will be $64,948.
Students will be responsible for dual credit tuition.
In other action, the board:
• Approved the retirement Kade Markman, a speech implementer.
• Approved a one-year contract with Anne Goodman, a certified teacher of the visually impaired.
• Voted to allow the Peregrine firm to operate an online store linked to the district’s website to sell Webb City branded items, such as t-shirts, on a three-month trial basis.
• Acknowledged being named Business Leader of the Year by the Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce. Rossetti said it’s nice to be recognized for the economic benefit, as well as educational benefit, that the district provides to the community.
He noted that the district puts $2 million monthly, through salaries and other expenses, into the local economy.