Kettering City Schools is planning to have relaxed COVID-19 face mask protocols and a new treasurer beginning in January.
A mask mandate for students and staff in classrooms has been in place since late August, a decision that prompted dozens to protest along Far Hills Avenue.
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again statewide, but school officials cited declining numbers within the district. So Kettering City Schools intends after winter break to make face mask wearing optional for students and staff, which the board of education agreed to Tuesday night.
The move comes after the district partnered with Rite Aid to get young students vaccinated. Public Health - Dayton Montgomery County said a high percentage of school-age children have received the shots, according to Superintendent Scott Inskeep.
“With all of this in mind, I feel that it is time to return to choice for our parents and guardians and to let them decide if their children will wear masks while in school” starting Jan. 3, Inskeep said in an email.
“Of course, the caveat to this decision is that if there is an outbreak of any kind in the schools, we can always look at returning to masking, if the situation warrants it,” he added.
When Inskeep recommended the mask mandate in late August, he said the district had seen an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, requiring nearly 60 students and staff to be quarantined.
Inskeep said he met with the school district’s pandemic response team last week, when district data showed a total of six students and staff were quarantined.
Inskeep initially said the district would start the school year with masks optional. When he announced the switch, Inskeep said it would be reviewed six weeks after vaccines were available for younger students.
The board Tuesday night also voted to hire Cary Furniss as its first full-time treasurer/CFO in seven years. He currently works in that role for Kings Local Schools in Warren County.
Furniss, who will start Jan. 3, was awarded a five-contract with a starting annual salary of $172,000, Inskeep said.
Others who interviewed were Jayme Profitt, assistant treasurer for Beavercreek City Schools, and Gina Samson of the Shared Resource Center in Dayton, officials said.
The district has contracted out its treasurer role to the Shared Resource Center since 2014. Dan Schall has been the SRC’s primary representative serving Kettering schools in that time.
Samson has worked in the treasurer’s role for the district the past few months, but she told this news outlet earlier she was not being offered the position. She has also provided similar services for Oakwood schools.