News Ticker

Mask mandate extended

The Wilson County School Board approved the extension of the mask mandate as well as the 2022-23 calendar at the meeting Monday.
“I’m living in a world where I can’t make everyone happy,” said Director of Schools Jeff Luttrell.
Many citizens spoke against the mandate in public comments, while some were in favor. Luttrell said that the COVID-19 numbers started to tick downward after they put the mandate in place. He said it may be luck, but if it is helping in any way, he wants to keep that going.
Nothing will change in the mandate, people can still opt out by going to the wcschools.com website. It will be revisited at the next board meeting, Monday, Nov. 1.
The 2022-23 school year calendar was also approved. The options were the calendar we were doing now, which allowed for one week at fall break and spring break, a two-week fall break calendar, or a blended model that combines the two.
Luttrell recommended that we keep the calendar the way it was because he felt it was best for instruction and would allow the maximum numbers of day before the testing later in the year.
Jamie Farough wanted to go with the two-week fall break. A portion of the zone she represents have kids in Lebanon Special School District, and the two-week model would allow for those days to line up better with their calendar, alleviating childcare concerns for those that have children in the two different school systems. She also did some informal polling and found that people were in favor of the two-week.
“When teachers and staff tell us they need that break, we need to listen,” said Farough.
Board Chair Larry Tomlinson said that comparing Wilson County Schools to Lebanon Special School District was not fair because they do not have high school students that have testing and dual enrollment.
“We can’t lose sight that we are in the high school business,” said Tomlinson.
Board Member Carrie Pfeiffer said that while she has sympathy with those that need childcare, the two-week calendar didn’t allow for the right number of days of instruction. It would only have 86 school days in spring, while 94 in the fall.
“Our teachers are going to be evaluated on these [testing] results,” said Pfeiffer.
The board first voted on the traditional calendar, and it failed in a 3-3 vote. They then went to the two-week fall break model, and it failed as well, 2-4.
Pfeiffer then suggested using the blended model which had two extra days at fall break. Originally, it was supposed to be a full week and two extra days at the end, but she suggested moving it to before the break, which would help it align a little more with Lebanon Special School District. That plan was approved 6-0.
Luttrell said while it wasn’t his first choice, the blended model was something that will work for the school district.
“It’s a good calendar. I think it will meet a lot of the needs of our students,” said Luttrell.
In that model, the first day of school will be Monday, Aug. 1. Fall break will be Oct. 6-14, and there will be a full week break at Thanksgiving. Spring Break will be March 6-10.