Mercer returns to optional masking
Free COVID Testing To Household Members
The Mercer County Board of Education voted last week to return to optional masking. Mercer will no longer be updating their masking policy on a daily basis.
The mask mandate had been reinstituted on Jan. 27 because the school had recorded 11 or more new positive cases for three consecutive days. Mercer was one of the first in the state to go to optional masking, back in September 2021.
At their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8, the board voted unanimously to do away with the mask mandate again. Superintendent Jason Booher said switching from optional to mandatory masking and back was confusing to the community.
Chairman Randy Phillips noted several states had eliminated masking mandates. According to NBC, only five states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., still had mandates.
Booher said volunteer COVID-19 screening will be moving from Monday mornings to Fridays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at 750 Tapp Road. The free testing is available not just to students and staff but also to all household family members. Booher said families were complaining it was hard to get testing quickly in Mercer County.
He said they could revisit the policy should another variant arise.
In other business, the Mercer County Board of Education:
• Approved increasing stipends for substitute teachers. Stipends for classified staff would increase $10 for half a day and $20 for a whole day.
Other stipends would increase from $10 to $20. According to documents made available by the school district, rank V educators, who hold emergency certificates and have up to 95 semester hours of approved college training or the equivalent, would see stipends go from $75 to $90, while rank IV educators, who hold emergency certificates and who have up to 128 semester hours of approved college training or the equivalent, would see their stipends go from $90 to $100. Certified teachers rank III would see their stipends go from $100 to $120, while certified teachers rank I would see their stipends go from $115 to $130.
Booher said they can revisit this when they set the salary schedules.
The district will use ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds….