The Concordia Parish School Board agreed to an updated Covid mask policy and also received a progress report on construction of the new gym at Monterey.
Board members voted twice on the mask policy, the first measure, calling for a ban on masks, failed.
On that motion, Lisette Forman, who noted her opposition to masks being required, along with Ricky Raven and Warren Enterkin supported the motion, while Dorothy Parker, Derrick Carson, Rev. Raymond Riley and Angela Hayes voted against.
Board President Fred Butcher abstained.
Superintendent Toyua Watson said a survey of schools revealed that 57 percent prefer that masks be optional and not required.
Raven suggested that those areas who want to wear masks be allowed to and those that don’t not be required to wear to masks.
On a motion by Parker, the board agreed that masks would be highly recommended but not required, that the board would be provided weekly updates on Covid numbers and that the issue be revisited in February.
That motion passed on a 6-2 vote with Enterkin, Parker, Carson, Butcher, Raven and Forman each voting yes and Riley and Hayes voting no.
Riley said students need to wear the masks because some students are not vaccinated.
On another matter, Bob Bernard with Volkert, Inc., the company that is overseeing the construction of the Monterey Gym, said he inspected the job site last week and met with the contractor.
He said thanks to dry conditions that much work has been done, including some of the structural steel work. He said concrete paving may begin around the first of the year.
Butcher asked if the gym would be ready in time for graduation ceremonies in May. Bernard said work should be ready by April 30 although the contractor will have 45 days to complete his punch list.
In other action, the board agreed to a three-year period on pay supplements and approved the payment of invoices for the October totaling $5,529,383.
The board also announced the following personnel matters:
Retirement: Deborah Byrnes, SFS Manager, Ferriday Lower Elementary School, effective October 27, 2021.
Resignation: Lee Wooldridge, Teacher, Ferriday Junior High School, effective November 5, 2021.
Transfer: Hattori Brice, JAG Specialist, Concordia Education Center, to JAG Specialist, Vidalia Junior High School, effective November 1, 2021.