By Aimee Hancock
PIQUA — The Piqua City Schools Board of Education heard from Katie Neubert of the Piqua Education Foundation during Thursday’s regular meeting.
Neubert shared information about the PEF’s Piqua Promise Campaign. Since 1985, the PEF has given $5 million in students scholarships. This program focuses on the “forgotten costs” not typically covered by even full academic scholarships, including books, lab fees, tech fees, etc.
The goal for this year’s program is to raise $9,000 by Sept. 30 to offer five scholarships to students.
Board member Kelly McMaken shared that she has personally donated to the fund, and she challenged her fellow board members to do the same as a show of support to the students of Piqua City Schools.
During the meeting’s hearing of public, two student mothers spoke.
Alice Marrs addressed the board regarding the issue of wearing masks. Marrs requested the board does not begin to require students to wear masks while at school, adding that she believes this should be a decision made solely by parents.
“Personal health choices and medical decisions, including masks for our children, belong to us as parents, not the schools as educators,” Marrs said.
Marrs said that while masks were required last year, they “didn’t work,” and urged administrators to refrain from doing so again.
“If we allow our children to be forced into masks again this year, we will forever be masking our kids,” she said.
Marrs said in the 10 years she has had children in the Piqua City Schools system, she has always had trust in the administration “to make the best decisions” for her children.
“2020 shook that trust, and the reality is, we shouldn’t even need to show up to these meetings to voice our opinions on the mask issue because we do it quietly every day,” she said. “All you have to do is look around. If you walk into any school in this district, 90% or higher of the students are not wearing masks. That’s because that’s what we as parents have chosen.”
Parent Dustin Fessler also spoke Thursday. Fessler said she agreed with Marrs on the issue of mask-wearing being the decision of the parents.
Fessler’s shared concerns regarding the communication between the schools and parents when it comes to reporting active COVID-19 cases within the district. She noticed some discrepancies between how each parent receives these notifications.
Recently, Fessler said she received only an email, with no description or alert in the subject line, rather than a phone call, notifying her of an active case in her child’s classroom.
“I kind of felt like the lack of urgency or importance on that matter should have been handled in a different way,” she said.
Fessler encouraged the administration to re-evaluate how notifications are sent out. Assistant Superintendent Tony Lyons told Fessler the district would look into this issue.
The next board of education meeting will be held on Oct. 21, at 6 p.m.