The River Valley school board on Tuesday approved the district’s health and safety plan, which calls for encouraging but not requiring masks.

The plan, approved 7-0 by directors Rick Harper, Molly Stiles, Anthony “Tim” Canzano, Connie Constantino, Linda Brown, Holly Gibson and Beverly Caranese, has students returning for in-person instruction five days a week.

Masks are recommended for those who are not vaccinated, but are not required.

The district noted masks may be required on the bus, “pending CDC recommendations.”

“The district will review guidance in August and will adjust the plan accordingly,” it states on the use of masks on buses.

Board President Rick Harper said parents would be notified via letter, email and text notifications on the policy.

He and Superintendent Philip Martell cautioned that the plan is subject to change.

“Please remember, the health and safety plan all last year was a moving target,” Harper said.

Harper noted that on Tuesday, the CDC just updated guidance and that others, such as the state Department of Health, could do the same.

Other items in the plan call for distancing “to the maximum extent possible,” reminders for handwashing, use of univents and ventilation and contact tracing as recommended by the department of health.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

• Approved the services of Citizens’ Ambulance for the 2021-22 school year.

• Approved additional services for e-Rate Compliance Services CSM Consulting Inc. for the FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Program at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

• Accepted a grant from Tri-County Work Force for $63,800 for the 2021-22 school year for career-awareness activities.

• Extended the Credit Recovery Program for two weeks at a cost of about $15,000, to be paid by ESSERs grant funding.

• Approved the annual renewal for Adobe in an amount not to exceed $2,490.

• Approves the purchase of security cameras from CDW in an amount not to exceed $45,700.

• Approved the purchase of 10 SmartBoards from Visual Sound in an amount not to exceed $27,341.25.

• Approved a College in High School agreement with Westmoreland County Community College for Sociology and American National Government.

• Approved the consulting services of Daniel Sacco for Safety, Security & Emergency Preparedness with an estimated 580 hours per year of consulting service for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

• Approved the professional development services of Amplify for middle school science teachers in an amount not to exceed $6,400.

• Approved the three-year agreement of PA-ETEP, an evaluation tool for certified and noncertified employees, in an amount not to exceed $31,424, which includes a 5 percent discount.

• Approved the upgrade renewal of CareerZone for elementary students, in an amount not to exceed $1,890.

• Approved the purchase of AP U.S. History and AP World History curriculum from McGraw Hill, at a cost no more than $2,836.28.

• Approved Victoria Franco as the MTSS Facilitator/Middle School Reading Specialist.

• Hired Regina Endress as a full-time paraprofessional, with salary and benefits in accordance with the bargaining unit contract.

• Granted tenure to the following employees Angela Jorgenson, Emily Pozik, Rebecca Hilderhoff, Karen Magalich and George Petree.

• Approved a five-year agreement with the administrative assistant to the superintendent and confidential secretary full and part time, of the River Valley School District, from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2026.

• Accepted the resignation request of Lucas Palmer, BES third shift custodian, as of July 2, and authorized the administration to post and/or advertise if necessary.

• Approved the transfer of Melinda Street to the Saltsburg Elementary School daylight custodian position and authorized the administration to post and/or advertising the position if deemed necessary.

• Hired hiring of the following supplemental contracted position for the 2021-22 school year:John Brady, newspaper adviser; and Christian Kampas, RVHS cross country assistant coach and sophomore class adviser. The board also approved volunteers Charlotte Robertson, Eddie Dunlap, Leah Lyons and Bridget Doyle as marching band volunteers.

• Appointed Constance Gizzi as the Title IX Coordinator for the school district.

• Appointed Martell as the Right to Know Officer for the district.

• Approved the following professional substitutes for the 2021-2022 school year: Christian Kampas, physical education; Lauren Celender, special education and elementary K-6; and Darren Studnicki, secondary English education. The board also approved nonprofessional substitute Susan Piper, secretary and cafeteria.

• Hired the following long-term substitute teachers, at a pro-rated salary of $40,000, based on a 185-day school year, with agreed upon benefits: Christian Kampus and Darren Studnicki, River Valley High School ILC; Lauren Celender, River Valley Blairsville Campus; Sara Anderson, Saltsburg Elementary School; and Dana Coiner, Blairsville Elementary School.

• Approved River Valley Music Boosters and Saltsburg Midget Football Association as recognized organizations that support the district.

• Approved KLH Engineers, Inc. for the sanitary sewer evaluation/project at an hourly rate of $131.

• Approved the River Valley School District building sign proposal, from Signs of Excellence Inc., in an amount not to exceed $3,400.

• Approved the painting proposal from T. Richards Fine Home Painting for the wrestling room not to exceed $1,200; the weight room not to exceed $1,450; and the stadium not to exceed $3,500; and the media center not to exceed $2,000.

• Approved the River Valley School District roadside sign proposal from Signs of Excellence Inc. in an amount not to exceed $5,002.

• Approved the purchase of cheerleading uniforms from Varsity Spirit Fashion in the amount of $24,466.40.

• Approved a scrubber proposal from Fagan Sanitary Supply, in an amount not to exceed $88,780.18, which is Co-Stars pricing.

Margaret Weaver has served as a Gazette staff writer since 2006. She covers Clymer Borough, the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District and Blairsville court, and also works in the areas of layout, design and editing.