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Montoursville Area High School to reopen Friday after cleaning

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Montoursville’s Rocco Pulizzi is tackled by Danville’s Mason Raup during the game Friday at Montoursville High School.

The Montoursville Area District will reopen the high school Friday and all sports and extracurricular activities will resume following action early Wednesday morning by the school board.

School directors decided to reverse an earlier decision made by district officials Tuesday to close the building for a week and shut down all events following a report of two high school students infected by COVID-19.

The board voted 7-2 to reopen the schools during a marathon session that began Tuesday night before ending in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, according to board member William Ruffling.

“During a seven-and-a-half-hour meeting last night, at 1:30 (a.m.) we voted to close school just Wednesday and Thursday for extensive cleaning and get kids back in school on Friday and resume with regularly scheduled games and activities,” he said. “The board responded to parents and taxpayers and what they wanted.”

Ruffing said a flood of emails came from concerned parents who didn’t feel two cases of COVID-19 infections warranted closing down the school and activities.

The vote by the board, Ruffing said, revises the health and safety plan regarding the number of cases that require closing a building.

“We set a threshold to what the number of infected students would necessitate a closing. It would be 2 percent. It will be a building by building case,” he said.

Those who voted to reopen the schools and resume activities were board members Ruffing, Daniel Albert, Dale Ulmer, Susan Beery, David Shimmel, and Scott Konkle. Jennifer Marriott and Dottie Mathers voted against.

Ruffing said emotions ran high throughout the meeting.

Not everyone who contacted school officials favored reopening the building just yet, he noted.

But Ruffing said he’s happy about the board’s decision.

“I think it’s in the best interests of all our students,” he said. “The mental state of kids is important. Face-to-face instruction proves to be best.”

The board’s decision will once again allow the varsity football game between Montoursville and Loyalsock to be held Saturday. The game had earlier been earlier canceled.

Ruffing noted that the board also voted to continue meeting in virtual sessions.

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