After a lengthy, careful, and detailed discussion, the Fairfield Area School District (FASD) Board of Directors voted Monday to keep its fifth through twelfth grade students in a 100 percent online environment until January 28.
The motion, which passed on a 5 to 4 vote, followed the recommendations of the school administration to keep students online until at least January 11. Board members Joshua Laird, Jack Liller, Lashay Kalathas, and David Millstein voted against the proposal.
The successful vote followed the 4 to 5 failure of an earlier motion to reopen the secondary schools on January 11.
The board members who voted for the later return noted the importance of consistency in making their decisions, expressing concern that students if students returned on the 11th they would likely have to return to a virtual environment soon after that.
Secondary students are already learning in an all-online environment since the middle and high schools closed Friday due to the number of positive COVID cases.
“There is a 14-day rolling period. If we have more than seven students and staff we must close for 14 days. This weekend we went over this value and we went virtual,” said District Superintendent Michael Adamek.
“For the 50 thousandth time – keep your kids home if they have symptoms. Runny nose? Stay home. Do you really want to be the person that shuts the school down? That would be embarrassing.” — FASD board member Rhonda Myers.
Over 60 FASD students have been quarantined for COVID symptoms or contact with someone COVID positive since Thanksgiving.
“It’s a tough decision, we’re going to do our best,” said Adamek.
The board said the elementary school currently has no COVID cases and would remain open until December 22 and return after the holiday break on January 4.
Adamek said the district is working on contact tracing infected individuals following state guidelines.
“We are trying as hard as we can to keep the elementary school open,’ said Liller
The board repeatedly asked parents to check their children and not send them to school if they had COVID symptoms.
“For the 50 thousandth time – keep your kids home if they have symptoms,” said board member and contact tracer Rhonda Myers. “Runny nose? Stay home. Do you really want to be the person that shuts the school down? That would be embarrassing.”