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Jersey Shore superintendent: Masks required on buses due to federal order

JERSEY SHORE — Updating the school board on what he called the “hot topic,” Jersey Shore Superintendent Dr. Brian Ulmer stressed that the district’s Health and Safety Plan does not require students to wear masks, unless they are ordered to do so — as seems to be the case for wearing masks on school buses.

Ulmer emphasized that the plan states “ordered,” not “recommended.”

“According to the federal order, school buses are public transportation. So, even though we are not requiring masks in school, and we’ve already said that in our health and safety plan, there is a federal order requiring masks on public transportation,” he said.

Ulmer also addressed the issue of testing students for COVID-19.

“We are not testing kids. I know there’s some rumblings out there about the state providing funding to do testing in school,” he said.

“I am not a health care provider. That has been my answer since day one…I don’t want to do testing in schools,” Ulmer said.

Christopher Kenyon, board solicitor, noted the federal order “sunsets” on Sept. 13. Ulmer explained that term, saying the order would “go away” unless refreshed or put to bed prior to that date.

In other business, under personnel items, the board accepted letters of resignation from Brian Witner and Audrey Bowman, food service employees; Nacoe Biser, middle school lunch monitor; and Joshua Ely, middle school sixth grade social studies teacher. They also accepted a letter of retirement from Stephen Waldman.

The board approved the following appointments: Anna Berger, autistic behavioral support teacher, $46,479; Justin Jordan as middle school head football coach, stipend of $3,759; Jason Whitman, volunteer football coach; Jeanne Reeder and Adrienne Johnston, 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Program, $30 per hour; Joanne Knepp, student data coordinator, $43,500 per year; Makalea Bickhart, middle school head cheerleading coach, stipend of $1,985; Heather Haigh, high school music teacher, $58,926 per year; and Liza Smith, middle school music teacher, $51,645.

Robert Fox was approved as varsity boys’ track and field and varsity girls’ track and field coach and Ann-Marie Dincher was approved a boys’ tennis coach. A vote to appoint Randy Smith as girls’ softball coach was defeated 2-7. All positions were for spring sports.

Voting against hiring Smith were: Craig Allen, Harry Brungard, Patrice Doebler, Angela Grant, Wayne Kinley, Nancy Petrosky and Michelle Stemler. In favor were Mary Thomas and David Becker.

In accordance with board policy, the board approved providing an optional voluntary student insurance policy for parents to purchase through Gerber Life Insurance Company through the R. R. Motter Agency for the 2021-22 school year.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 at the district board room, 175 A & P Drive.

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