Homer Center sign 002.JPG

Stock news photos. Homer Center High School sign.

The Homer-Center school board approved the district’s health and safety plan at a special meeting Tuesday, setting guidance for the upcoming school year regarding masks, social distancing and contract tracing.

Under the plan, masks will not be required by students and employees — but will be encouraged and promoted, especially for those who are not vaccinated.

Directors voted 8-0 to approve the plan.

Officials noted on public transportation, “including the school buses operated by public and private school systems,” that masks are required, unless a driver is the only person on the bus.

Social distancing will be adhered to “to the extent possible as recommended by the CDC.”

The district will also promote hand-washing and respiratory etiquette, and will “adhere to the cleaning of all district facilities and ventilation systems as recommended by the CDC.”

Contact tracing will be maintained, and students and employees who may not feel well are expected to stay home.

To promote vaccination, the district “will assist any parent/guardian with their child or an employee in locating and potentially providing transportation for students who wish to be vaccinated.”

Those who are interested “should contact the school nurse or an administrator.”

Concerns for district students with disabilities regarding the plan can be addressed to the director of special education by calling (724) 479-9077, ext. 1112.

Districts were required to approve health and safety plans before July 30 to qualify for emergency relief funding under the American Rescue Plan.

Superintendent Curtis Whitesel said school officials will continue working to determine what is recommended and what is required.

“We’re going to do our best,” he said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the resignation, due to retirement, of secondary art teacher Gary Wyant, effective immediately.

• Accepted the resignation of Brian Rathgeb as food service director, effective Aug. 17.

• Moved Cheryl Turk to be a multi-tiered system of support coordinator for 2021-2024.

• Approved Bruce Gardner as volunteer golf coach, pending clearances.

• Approved the following supplemental contracts and salaries: Nick Moore, girls’ basketball head coach, $5,486.32; Mike Arone, girls’ basketball first assistant coach, $3,806.69; Tom Dixon, junior high girls’ basketball coach, $2,495.71; and Sarah Fulton, assistant volleyball coach, $2,495.71.

• Approved an agreement for the IUP Educator & Clinician Preparation Experience for the 2021-22 school year, as well as an addendum to the contract with Pressley Ridge Greensburg.

• Approved the replacement of two flashing 15 mph signs by Scott Anderson at a cost of $5,900.

• Approved for the marching band to perform from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 12 at Kennywood. The district will pay for transportation.

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.