WELLSVILLE – The school district’s COVID-19 response is still a top topic at Wellsville school board meetings.
While Tuesday night’s meeting had much the same in the areas of staff spending, transfers and approvals, Superintendent David Foster had COVID-19 business to report with board members.
Since the last board meeting, school supervisors from across the county have met with State Senator George Borrello of Chautauqua County and MP Joseph Giglio, R-Gowanda. Foster said the duo briefed superintendents on COVID-19 and the shortage of school bus drivers being felt by school districts across the state.
Looking for solutions, Foster said he comes up with an obvious one. Allow bus superintendents to administer the required DMV test, as they are all classified as 19A examiners. This could be done on a temporary basis until the DMV can catch up, he stressed, or until the shortage passes.
Foster said he had been contacted by staff from both lawmakers, but nothing had come of the suggestion yet.
The school district is testing 60 employees for COVID-19 each week, including those at the private Immaculate Conception School and Parker Jordan School. Foster said they were in week two of testing and there hadn’t been any positive cases yet.
“The big problem has been the approval for children aged 5 to 11 to receive the Pfizer vaccine,” he said, while suggesting that parents of children in this age group contact their pediatricians. .
While he’s not sure how many students are vaccinated in elementary grades, Foster said about 50% of high school students have received the vaccine.
This makes it easier for the winter sports program to run this year. Foster said he plans for all winter sports activities to take place, with students wearing masks.
The superintendent also expects the annual holiday concerts to take place with only slight variation, which not only requires masks but also limits attendance. But the normally busy sixth, seventh and eighth grade concerts will be split. The sixth graders will perform one night and the seventh and eighth students perform another night. Only four guests will be allowed per artist.
The high school concert will take place as usual with compulsory masks.
The annual high school play, he said, is also expected to run normally, with a mask required.
The Wellsville School Board meets at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month in the high school’s STEAM room.