Covid numbers declining at Mount Gilead Schools

By Alberta Stojkovic - For The Sentinel

Mount Gilead Schools Superintendent Zack Howard reported to the school board on Covid numbers at their October meeting.

Howard said that those numbers have been steadily declining after reaching a “highwater mark” the third week of school.

In week one there were 10 positive cases among students and staff. In week two there were 42 cases and the highwater mark was 53 who tested positive in week three.

There has been a steady decline of cases with 39 in week four, 25 in week five and 19 last week.

Howard said they began using additional spaces in buildings to maintain social distancing at lunch periods and throughout the day. The district is following health department guidelines. Masks are still required on school buses, while parents and students can choose whether or not to wear masks in school buildings.

Park Avenue Elementary Principal Chris Kamenski praised teachers and staff for their support and flexibility in dealing with absences and quarantines when Covid numbers were high.

Kamenski was enthusiastic about the success of PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program at the elementary school. He said in his five years he has seen great effects of this program that reinforces positive, responsible and respectful behavior.

High School Principal Deb Clauss was pleased that students were able to bring back Homecoming events with a parade, ceremonies and dance. Other high school activities are back this year with the theater production “Alice in Pandemic Wonderland” on Nov. 12 and 13. Parent/teacher conferences are also back after 1 ½ years.

In other business:

• Ryan DeMay gave a video presentation of natural vs. synthetic turf. DeMay’s recommendation for the athletic fields was for Bermuda grass. He gave the example of Pickerington that was able to grow adequate grass in 11 weeks.

Board members Mike Sayers and Virgil Staley visited Pickerington and were impressed with their fields. Sayers concern was that there would be added cost due to increased maintenance. Board member Denny West noted there would still be considerably less expense with grass compared to turf.

• Board approved hiring SHP Architectural firm to complete an audit of district buildings to assist with priorities to maintain and improve the school campus.

• The district is completing a title search for four parcels of land in Edison at the site of the former Edison School.

As the district considers improvements for the school campus off Park Avenue, Howard said, “We want to be in a position to thoughtfully consider whether we should retain or sell the parcels to offset the cost for our taxpayers and the impact on the general fund for future building improvements and ongoing maintenance.

• Board approved supplemental contracts and employment for substitute teachers, bus drivers and custodians. Supplemental contracts were awarded for PBIS Park Avenue team, Middle School JV boys basketball coach, Key Club advisor, volunteer track coach, winter faculty manager and County Elementary Spelling Bee.

A complete listing of supplemental contracts approved is at the website:

By Alberta Stojkovic

For The Sentinel