During the November Vinton County Board of Education meeting at Central Elementary School, multiple schools were recognized with awards as well as a board member. Normally, these awards would have been given out at the Ohio School Board Association spring conference that was set to be hosted in Vinton County but due to COVID the conference was held virtually.
Thomas McManis received an award recognizing his 15 years of service to the county as a veteran Board of Education member. The state department of education also recognizes schools who maintain a high level of academic achievement among their students. Many of those schools operate in areas of economic difficulties that can often make learning much harder on the children that live there. Both South Elementary and West Elementary were recognized as schools achieving this honor. The awards were given to Principal Miranda Smith of South Elementary and Principal Brian Thompson of West Elementary.
Superintendent Rick Brooks spoke on the impact coronavirus has had on the county’s schools. With the stats being where they are, the superintendent sees no need to alter the current plan of 5 day in person classes. He stated, “We will certainly monitor everything closely as we come back from Thanksgiving break.” Currently, there are 2 staff members with COVID and 5 quarantined as well as 1 student with the virus and 23 quarantined. As for the year as a whole, 6 staff members became ill with 14 being quarantined and 8 students got the virus and a total of 138 quarantined. “Looking at those numbers and having discussion with the health department every Thursday afternoon, I feel very comfortable with where we are at and certainly want to continue doing the academic day the way we had planned.”, said Brooks.
Brooks brought up a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropic foundation dedicated solely to health, concerning the impact COVID has had on childhood obesity. The report states that nationwide school closings could lead to as many as 1.2 million new cases of childhood obesity, which would correlate to a 2.4% increase in obesity among children. Nearly3 out of 4 children in the United States don’t get the 60 minutes of recommended daily exercise and virtual schooling has the possibility of growing this problem. Brooks urged the board to keep this information in mind as, “I think that is an important stat that we all need to keep in mind as we move though our in school day and what we are doing with physical activity.”