Universal masking to continue through Oct. 22 at Manhattan-Ogden Schools

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USD 383 Board President Jurdene Coleman (left) looks on while Superintendent Marvin Wade (right) presents the updated pandemic response plan to board members Wednesday evening at the Robinson Education Center. Also pictured (at far right) board clerk Diane Denison.

Masks will remain a requirement inside all Manhattan-Ogden school facilities for at least the next five weeks.

School board members approved Wednesday the latest pandemic response plan update in a 5-2 vote, extending universal masking on campuses through Oct. 22. Board member Brandy Santos has opposed masks from the start and did so again Wednesday.

      0915-Santos precedents

Board member Darell Edie previously supported universal masking but voted against it this time saying he believes it may not be as effective as most health experts say it is at mitigating the spread.

      0915-Edie false sense of security

Part of the updated plan includes the newly updated data dashboard, which shows the Riley County percent positive rate, vaccinations, attendance rates, positive tests among students and staff and quarantines. It initially included a red, yellow and green level to guide mask requirements in schools. The board chose to drop the yellow level altogether at the recommendation of board president Jurdene Coleman.

      0915-Coleman dont like yellow

Coleman supported the plan as did board vice president Kristin Brighton.

      0915-Brighton no one likes it

Santos says Brighton’s word proved her point that despite being in a “we’re in this together” mindset, the responsibility shouldn’t fall on individuals to protect one another but rather to do what’s best for themselves.

      0915-Santos my personal choices

Board member Curt Herrman agreed with Santos’ objection to setting future precedence on masking, for other illnesses, such as the flu. However he says he feels confident with the medical advisory team’s guidance on the issue above all else.

      0915-Herrman thats on me

Board members Karla Hagemeister and Katrina Lewison also supported the plan.

The board will revisit the plan at its Oct. 20 meeting.

In other business Wednesday, the board unanimously approved an extended contract for Superintendent Dr. Marvin Wade through June 30, 2023 with a 3.7 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2021. According to Board Clerk Diane Denison, Wade’s base salary for the 2021-2022 school year is $218,448.85.

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KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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