Masks may come off at Lanesville
By Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
Requiring students to wear masks at school may be nearing an end at Lanesville Community School Corp.
During last week’s board of trustees’ meeting, Steve Morris, acting as interim superintendent for the school corporation, asked those in attendance about eliminating the requirement of masks.
“We still are seeing very little evidence of COVID transmissions through students,” said Morris. “Would you, as parents in the community, support the school if the board decided to adopt a ‘no mask, no contact tracing’ policy?”
Overwhelmingly, the audience said they would support that decision.
The meeting on Feb. 15, was Morris’ first as interim superintendent. He had retired as superintendent at the end of 2021 and had retired as junior-senior high school principal prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Proposed legislation was another topic Morris spoke to the board about, particularly House Bill 1134.
“House Bill 1134 is onerous and will put unnecessary burdens on school corporations and teachers,” he said, explaining that the proposed bill will require teachers to post lessons on a portal where parents will then be able to opt their kids out of classes they find objectionable.
Morris said that in his 42 years of working in education, he has only had two or three objections to lessons from parents. Those objections were taken seriously, he said, and the school was able to come to a resolution with the parents.
“The process works,” said Morris. “Lanesville already posts lessons. This is unnecessary and overkill.”
Morris told the five-member board he met with state representatives and senators to oppose this bill.
“This will hurt public schools if it passes in any form,” he said.
Morris believes the passage of HB 1143 will result in educators leaving the profession and keep new people from becoming teachers.
“The last three years have been stressful on everyone,” he said. “This may be the breaking point.”
The number of applicants for teaching positions has already greatly dropped, according to Morris. Three or four years ago if there was an opening in elementary education, Lanesville would receive 24 or 25 applications.
“Now, we get two to three,” Morris said.
Another bill Morris touched on was one that would require each senior to create a Free Application for Federal Student Aid account. If a student is not going to college, he or she would have to complete a form to opt out.
Morris said this would be yet another burden of additional paperwork.
Bethany Miller made a presentation about Lanesville’s High Ability program.
“Our goal is to help all students to grow and become high achieving,” she said.
After testing, Lanesville found that elementary students’ scores were 3.5% higher than the state average with the junior-senior high students ranking 5% above the state average.
Miller has been working in conjunction with other teachers in the school during the last few years to develop the High Ability program. Miller and two other teachers now hold High Ability teaching certificates.
Jeff Smitson, Lanesville’s elementary school principal, said he would bring the groups from the Science Bowl to next month’s meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m.
On Jan. 24, the Science Bowl team, coached by Megan Love, finished seventh in the green class.
Smitson noted Kindergarten Roundup will be Friday, Feb. 25. Current kindergartners will have the day off so prospective students can tour the school and ask questions.
Dr. Ryan Apple, principal of the junior-senior high, announced that Audrey Brown is the Staff Person of the Year.
“She puts everything she has into everything she does,” he said.
Dakota Puckett told the board Lanesville schools is an Energy Star Certified building. Since 2016, the school has saved more than $476,573 in electric bills and has seen a reduction of $8,320-plus in operational costs.
Some sports teams received kudos at the meeting.
Apple introduced three members of the swim team: senior Madison Hubbard, sophomore Kassie Zurschmiede and freshman Maisey Zurschmiede. He told the board these girls, along with coach Marcie Bindner, had broken school records at each meet.
During the season, Hubbard had dropped 30 seconds off her time in the 100-yard freestyle, 14 seconds off the 50-yard freestyle and scored personal bests in the 200- and 100-yard freestyle at sectionals. Kassie broke four school records — in the 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle — and was only the second person — the first female — in school history to make it to the podium at sectionals. Her sister Maisey broke the school record in the 100-yard butterfly.
Apple said Bindner, who coached the first few years without pay, works with the swim team from 7 to 9 p.m. daily.
Smitson commended the sixth-grade boys’ basketball team on winning the county championship after defeating South Central. The team won the county championship last year as fifth graders.
The board accepted a 1960 picture from Ronnie Eisert, who graduated that year from Lanesville. It shows the entire student body and teachers outside the school. Behind them are stacks of wood, used to heat the building. Each classroom had a boiler, and students would take turns running outside to get wood to burn.