After rowdy attendees refused to don face masks at the Rockingham County School Board’s two meetings in August, a change of venue seems to have solved the problem.
Due to a mandate by Gov. Ralph Northam, anyone who enters a school building must wear a face mask, at least for the foreseeable future while the delta variant of COVID-19 surges.
For this reason, the School Board adjourned its Aug. 23 meeting after about five minutes or risk being in violation of the mandate. Although most in attendance were in compliance with the mandate, a half dozen or so weren’t, forcing the early conclusion of the meeting.
A solution seems to have been found following a calm meeting on Monday at the Rockingham County Administration Center. Because the building is not a school building, attendees at Monday’s meeting were given the choice of whether to wear a mask. Of about 30 people in attendance, most did not.
Superintendent Oskar Scheikl said that similar, nonschool buildings will be used for meetings for the “foreseeable future.”
“As we saw last time, people don’t want to wear their masks,” Scheikl said. “So, we ended up with a short meeting. I think this venue allows everyone to follow non-K-12 guidance.”
Of the six meetings scheduled for the remainder of the year, three are already scheduled for the Rockingham County Administration Center. However, three are scheduled to be held at Rockingham Academy, Wilbur Pence Middle School and Spotswood High School.
As these are school facilities, alternative locations will need to be secured, and the Rockingham County Administration Center is not available on those nights, Scheikl said.
He told those in attendance Monday to keep their eyes open for venue changes in order for the School Board to “continue to have the meetings at a place where again these options are available to people for the foreseeable future.”
The School Board will discuss in the coming weeks possible locations to meet. Some considerations for this include the ability to stream the meetings for those who do not want to attend in person.
The next School Board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 27. The location will be announced in the coming weeks. The board meets at 7 p.m. A link to a video stream of the meeting will be posted prior to the start of the meeting.