All students who attend Marion County Schools will be required to continue wearing masks until Oct. 11, according to an announcement this week from Marion County School District Superintendent Michael Day.
During its latest meeting Monday night, the Marion County School Board confirmed the 30-day extension of the mask mandate and referred to it as an additional precautionary measure to help ensure the protection of all students and faculty against the continuous threat of the Covid pandemic.
Day said that although he understands the frustration that some have regarding the mandatory mask requirement, the decision to extend the mandate is aligned with most other school districts in the region, and the ultimate goal is to maintain the safety and health of Marion County students.
A recent outbreak of Covid cases at West Marion Primary School prompted the board to shift that entire campus of students in kindergarten through third grade from in-person to virtual learning for a two-week period. They have since returned to in-person attendance, but like all of the county campuses, will continue to be closely monitored for additional spikes in positive cases.
As a prelude to Monday night's meeting, board members and guests were treated to a special performance by the East Marion Gospel Choir under the direction of Performing Arts Director Gary McCullum, who recently joined the district and will be in charge of a myriad of new and enhanced performing and creative arts courses not previously available in the district's curriculum.
In addition to the discussion and subsequent approval of the monthly agenda of general business actions, the board also acknowledged and celebrated the recognition of several assorted honor designations at each school, including student of the month, teacher of the month and the Grandmother of the Year Award (in honor of National Grandparents Day).
Details and photos of these assorted awards will be published in upcoming editions of The Columbian-Progress. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m.