By Sam Wildow
TROY — Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper provided a COVID-19 update during Monday’s Troy Board of Education meeting, and parents discussed health concerns in regard to the district’s face mask requirement.
Piper said the district saw a decline in COVID cases starting around Sept. 15, the beginning of the face mask mandate for Troy schools, bringing them “almost back to the beginning of the year levels.” He also showed graphs comparing the infection rates of students versus the community infection rate at-large, using data from Miami County Public Health.
“Our infection rate is higher than just the community rate,” Piper said.
Currently, the district is at a total of 217 students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 18 staff members. Below are the totals of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 each week:
• Aug. 18-20, 8 students
• Aug. 23-27, 31 students
• Aug. 30-Sept. 3, 23 students
• Sept. 7-10, 43 students
• Sept. 13-17, 44 students
• Sept. 20-24, 18 students
• Sept. 27-Oct.1, 21 students
• Oct. 4-8, 29 students
The above information was provided by Troy City Schools. The Monday of each week also includes the numbers of the prior weekend.
Piper also reported that attendance was going back up, but the district is still seeing a number of students going into quarantine. Piper said approximately 70 percent of students in quarantine are due to exposure to COVID-19 outside of school.
During public comment, Jessica Melvin of Troy discussed concerns regarding mental health of children during the pandemic, including increases of visits to medical providers and hospitals for mental health or incidents of attempted suicides for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. Melvin cited CDC statistics, and she suggested the increases could be due to COVID mitigation measures, such as social distancing and face masking.
Bill Wolke of Troy said the quarantine guidelines were “overzealous” and “over-reaching.”
“We’re getting this wrong,” Wolke said about the district’s response to the pandemic. He said the district needs to look at comparable numbers, adding parents may decide to send their children to different schools.
Ronald Coblentz of Troy was critical of the district’s lack of policies and resources on face masks, particularly noting a lack of resources sent to teachers on how to notice if a child is having an adverse reaction to wearing a mask for a prolonged period of time.
“This is irresponsible,” he said. “You should have been a lot more prepared.”
Tori Coblentz of Troy asked if the school district or the health district was accepting home tests in regard to students testing positive for COVID-19. She also stated the COVID numbers were “trending down already” prior to the face mask policy.
Carrie Glover of Troy also brought up the CDC warning of a more severe influenza season this year due to lowered immunity against it because of face masking.
Also on Monday, the board approved a proclamation establishing the week of Nov. 15 as American Education Week in the district. The board then approved providing reimbursement to approximately six families in lieu of transportation. The board ended its meeting by going into executive session to discuss personnel. No action was taken after the executive session.