After reading the guidelines for public participation, completing a roll call and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, Westerville City School District Board of Education members this evening unanimously introduced a motion from the table to move into executive session. The purpose of the executive session was to discuss details relative to the security arrangements and emergency response protocols for a public body or public office if disclosure of the matters discussed could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the security of the public body or the public office.
When the Board reconvened following the session, Superintendent Dr. John Kellogg was given the opportunity to speak. He indicated there were numerous attendees who refused to comply with the district’s mask mandate despite being asked to do so upon entering the facility. Kellogg also expressed his appreciation for those who continued to wear masks and support the district’s efforts to support safety, security and health during the pandemic.
Kellogg then advised those wearing masks to remain at least six feet away from others who were unmasked to comply with Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control while indoors in order to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Kellogg also recommended the Board modify the agenda to complete its business In order to reduce any health concerns and allow the Board to conduct its business.
Board members then introduced a motion from the table to conduct only that business on the agenda that requires a Board vote under law. The motion was approved unanimously. The Board proceeded with only the required portions of its meeting, which lasted approximately two minutes and thirty seconds.
School boards are not legally obligated to provide members of the public an opportunity to address members. However, the WCSD Board of Education traditionally provides two opportunities for public participation during each regular meeting. One opportunity to address the Board is dedicated to agenda-specific items, while the other is dedicated to general comments. Board members affirmed that they wish to continue providing opportunities for members of the public to address them during regular meetings. However, given that many of those in attendance refused to comply with the health and safety requirements in place, the two opportunities for public participation were among the several items removed from this evening’s agenda to reduce health concerns and allow the Board to complete its business expeditiously.