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School Resource Officer Deal To Go Before County Commission

WHEELING — Ohio County Board of Education President David Croft said he will present to Ohio County commissioners next week a deal where Ohio County Schools will continue to utilize county deputies as prevention resource officers in the schools.

A prior contract between Ohio County Schools and the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department expired July 1, though the PROs provided by the county had continued to work in the school until last week.

The county PROs did return to the schools on Monday, Ohio County Schools coordinator of communication Gabe Wells said prior to Monday’s board of education meeting.

A deal appears to have been achieved.

“I want to publicly thank the Ohio County Commission,” Croft said. “The three commissioners have been amazing to work with … and the commission’s attorney Don Tennant, they have been great.

“What the county commission has done — in conjunction with the board of education — is look at our public dollars and see if we are being good stewards of the money. Are we getting the most out of our dollars for our kids? For the community? Are we being wise with the dollars being entrusted to us?

“We are at the end of that process.”

Croft will present the plan when the county commissioners next meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 2. The public wishing to listen in to the telephone meeting may do so by calling 1-800-201-5203, and entering identification number 262285.

He told board of education members he plans to bring the contract before to the board for approval when they next meet at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the board office, 2203 National Road, Elm Grove.

In other matters, the board approved a proposal to pay $100,000 to CMTA engineers to add bi-polar ionization technology to school buildings recently receiving new heating and ventilation systems.

This includes Bridge Street MIddle School, Bethlehem, Ritchie and Madison elementary schools, the board of education office and the school district’s operations center.

Other school facilities will receive the technology moving forward, according to County Maintenance and Transportation Director David Crumm.

Ionization technology, when added to a ventilation system, is said to be 99.9 percent effective in removing COVID germs from the air and on surfaces every 30 minutes, he explained.

Board members also approved a policy to extend provisions of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act to school district employees in 2021.

The FFCRA’s paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements had expired on Dec. 31, 2020.

School employees now may take up to 10 paid sick days if they must quarantine because they are diagnosed with COVID, or they will receive two-third of their pay if they must take care of a family member who is ill with COVID, explained Ohio County Schools Human Resource Officer Susan Nolte.

These are not additional sick days being given to employees, but ones that can be used in the event of a COVID emergency, she said.

If an employee finds they must quarantine two or more times and already has used their COVID days, they will have to use regular sick days, according to Nolte.

Board member Grace Norton was not present at the meeting, but did participate by phone.

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