The Upper Adams School District (UASD) school board has voted to not require facemasks during the 2021-2022 school year.
Returning to Biglerville High School board room for the first time in over a year, the school board voted unanimously 7-0 for face coverings to be optional for students and staff next fall.
“Masks are not mandatory but encouraged especially if unvaccinated. Physical distancing will be practiced to the maximum extent possible. Vaccinations are encouraged but remain an individual choice,” school board president Tom Wilson said.
In other business, Clear Horizon Corporation representative Kris Klein sought board assistance in bringing high speed internet to the community through the nine miles of fiber network unutilized by the district.
“We’re asking to piggyback off that fiber network to bring Arentsville, Bendersville, and Biglerville high speed internet all the way up to the county line to help facilitate it faster.” he said.
Working together, Clear Horizon Corporation and the district could bring high speed internet to the community years sooner than originally anticipated, according to Klein.
The proposal’s long-term plan is to create a network “main hub” within the district including a full data center in addition to creating 30 community jobs, he said.
Expanding connectivity services throughout the community is “a wonderful idea” due to the necessity of reliable internet throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Wilson.
“We definitely saw the need for wider internet access during the pandemic when we had kids at home,” he said.
No decision was made, and the information will be sent the solicitor and technology staff for review.
In the legislator’s report, school board member Chris Lee presented information pertaining to a widespread community topic as of late: critical race theory (CRT). Wielding a doctorate in historical English, Lee is an English professor at Gettysburg College and claimed that teaching truth and accurate history often requires “hard examinations of issues that might make us uncomfortable,” he said.
Lee’s report mentions CRT as “a set of ideas that provide ways of understanding American history that acknowledge that some legal and social practices have disadvantaged people of color.”
CRT is a complex subject typically reserved for law schools and is not currently being taught, nor likely has ever been taught at UASD, according to Lee.
The CRT report is available on the district website and provides resources and sources for individuals to draw their own conclusions, he said.
“It has to do with a maelstrom, really a firestorm, of concerns that have led to a number of legislative movements…my concern is that it’s reactionary and not helpful to education,” Lee said.
It was also noted a grant from the Adams County Community Foundation was accepted for $30,000 to cover district anti-racism training.
The next curriculum and extracurricular committee meeting will be held Aug. 2 and regular school board meeting Aug. 16.