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Loyalsock school board voices concerns with 250-cap at athletic events

Following a lengthy discussion on permitting spectators at sports events, the Loyalsock Township School board made no decision other than to continue to follow the governor’s orders, which now allow spectators but limit the number to a total of 250 people.

The discussion came at the board’s meeting held virtually Wednesday.

One of the issues cited by the board, particularly with football games, was that by the time all the essential people, such as teams, coaches, officials and possibly cheerleaders and members of the bands were in the stadium, the total would be at or exceed the number currently allowed. Parent spectators would have to be limited or eliminated.

“If you figure it out, 60 kids on each team. Okay, that’s 120. Sixty kids in the band, that 180. Twenty cheerleaders, that’s 200,” said Melvin Wentzel, a member of the board.

“Okay, now we’re at 200, which 50 people are we going to allow in and where are we going to put these 50 people? How do we police that and how do we determine that?” Wentzel added.

“This is another one of those logistical nightmares,” stated board member John Raymond.

Various options on how to determine who would be allowed to attend events were discussed, but in the end, the board decided to postpone any decision until the athletic director was brought into the conversation. They are considering scheduling a meeting next week to continue the discussion.

Board solicitor Eugene Yaw, told the board that the governors’ guidance might not apply when the state

legislature passes a bill placing the decision on determining the amount of spectators in the hands of local school boards.

Yaw said that the bill which had been passed by the state house had been sent to the Senate Education Committee which scheduled a hearing on the measure for Thursday.

“It’s a veto-proof bill. It passed the House and it would make all extracurricular activities and sports subject to local control,” Yaw said. He added that the middle of next week would be soonest that the bill could be passed.

In other actions, in a revision to the district’s phased school reopening health and safety plan, the board approved removing the statement that face coverings are required where six feet of social distancing cannot be met. It will now include that face coverings are required. Students may remove face coverings when eating or drinking when spaced six feet apart or when wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task. They may also remove their face covering when they are at least six feet apart during “face covering breaks” to last no longer than ten minutes.

The revision was made in accordance with the governor’s clarification issued on Aug. 17, according to the agenda item.

The board approved an agreement between the district and the Williamsport Home for payment in lieu of taxes.

According to the district’s business manager Dan Egly, the agreement will run for three years and allows the Home to make a recalibrated amount of its property taxes which he noted would be $57,410. This amount includes a $7,000 increase.

A land lease agreement and memorandum of lease with Cellco Partnership doing business as Verizon Wireless, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, was approved by the board.

Egly said that the agreement would allow the company to lease a 50 feet by 50 feet plot of real estate located between the district’s middle school and an adjacent commercial property. The company is seeking to erect a tower on the site. The lease would be for $20,000 a year with a 2 percent escalator which would potentially bring in $500,000 for the district over the length of the lease, Egly said.

He noted that the agreement is dependent on the company getting approval from the township in order to proceed with the project.

The board accepted the resignations of Jean Borowiec and Sue Eberlin, both food service employees.

In other actions the board approved hiring:

• Shannon Butters, secretary at $14 per hour.

• EvieLyn Perry and Andrea Molter as part-time paraprofessionals at $10.75 per hour.

• Nathan Janovitz, volunteer football coach and Kaytlyn Coppola, volunteer soccer coach.

An agreement with Susquehanna Health Medical Group and Dr. Matthew Meeker for school physician services was approved by the board.

Board members present were: Raymond, Wentzel, Robert Leidhecker, Carolyn Strickland, Paul Young II and Michael Zicolello. Absent: Charles Edmonds, Christina Kiessling and Valerie Komarnicki.

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