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FASD faces TikTok vandalism, prepares for supply disruptions

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As small as Fairfield Area School District is, even it hasn’t escaped the “Devious Licks” challenge made famous on TikTok.

William Mooney, district buildings and grounds supervisor, said that while issues have been minor, the district has faced some of the same frustrations of the TikTok challenge aggravating school leaders around the nation.

The challenge has students stealing or vandalizing items in schools across the country, often targeting bathrooms.

Mooney reported that although the issues have been “nothing significant,” the popular challenge encourages students to cause vandalize items at school, “and you get some sort of accolades for that,” Mooney said.

There have been cases of “mostly minor vandalism,” as well as one “minor” theft, Mooney said.

On Sept. 15, TikTok’s communications team tweeted that searches related to the challenges would no longer work. The account tweeted a screenshot of a search for “deviouslick,” showing that the search brought up no content. Instead, it displays a warning that the phrase “may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines.”

“We expect our community to create responsibly- online and IRL (in real life,)” TikTok tweeted. “We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools and teachers.”

The district also heard a report from the new business manager saying that the office is eyeing the supply chain for the cafeteria “very closely” due to concerns about potential “interruptions,” according to the report.

While no immediate shortages were reported, the district is watching the issue, according to the report.

Other districts across the nation have reported concerns about shortages of certain items. On Monday, The New York Times reported that some school districts have struggled to purchase enough bread, juice and other items from vendors due to higher costs, worker shortages and other complications along the supply chain.

Mask mandate

Superintendent Michael Adamek asked the community to continue to follow the state mask mandate.

As of Monday night, there were 11 students in grades 5-12 infected with the novel coronavirus, according to Adamek. Another eight individuals at the elementary school had reported positive test results.

In addition to the 19 known cases, another student was in quarantine, Adamek said.

“The reason I bring this up is that we are in school five days a week,” Adamek said. “Our kids are coming on a daily basis. They are getting instruction. They are having their mask breaks. They are participating in their activities. Our sports teams are able to participate. We don’t have teams where we have to not go to games. We had one where it was becoming an issue. We have our masks on. We are doing well compared to districts in the county, districts in our IU. Some districts outside of our IU have shut down for weeks on end because of their cases.”

Adamek said he wanted to see the district remain open.

“Folks, I know that masks are not the most favorite thing,” he said. “Not everybody likes to wear a mask. I don’t like to wear a mask. But if it’s one of the things that we can do to ensure our kids are continuing to stay in school, getting their education five days a week, it’s a positive. I just want to repeat again: five days a week, in face, in-person instruction every day with our teachers. I’m just very glad that our kids are able to do that.”

Other business

The district received two donations, including new books donated by the Fairfield Education Association in memory of school board member Joshua Laird.

Laird was on the school board for four years and passed away in August. He died due to injuries received while fighting a fire with Frederick County Fire and Rescue, according to his obituary.

A separate donation from Joyce Rose included two Armstrong flutes.

When asked by a member of the public when the COVID-19 dashboard would be revised with current data, Adamek said the dashboard has been updated.

After being asked about exemptions for the mask mandate for students with mental or physical concerns, Adamek said that students can apply for an exemption according to the regulations set by the state.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11 in the district board room.

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Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist. She was a staff newspaper reporter for five years before becoming a freelancer in 2017. She has written on crime, environmental issues, severe weather events, local and regional government and more.

You can visit her website at ImariJournal.com.

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