Education board approves indoor event guidelines

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Pawhuska Board of Education last week approved, by a vote of 5-0, a six-point regime of guidelines for indoor events. The guidelines are intended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The elements of the six-point plan are: temperature checks on all persons entering school buildings; mandatory mask wearing for all persons attending indoor events; a limit on attendance at events; the seating of visitor and home team fans in designated areas; a prohibition on athletes shaking hands before or after events; and a provision that if anyone is out of compliance with the guidelines (for instance, not wearing a mask), the event will pause until the violation is remedied.

Members of the Board of Education voiced a particular interest in making sure the guideline about pausing events was effectively communicated to the public, and Superintendent David Cash was asked to make sure that guideline was spelled out.

“I know by putting it on there, we are going to incur the wrath of people who don’t like masks,” board member Mike Tolson said.

“We will stop play until everybody is in compliance,” Cash said. He clarified that he did not anticipate that school officials would engage in physical conflict with anyone about the enforcement of district guidelines, but said police could be called if needed.

“If I thought it was required, we’ll do what we’ve got to do,” Cash said. The school district will have masks available for persons who need them, he said.

“We’ve bought a lot of masks this year,” Cash said.

The attendance limit that the board approved Jan. 11 is “four visitors per participant or 50 percent (of the activity venue), whichever is the least amount.”

In other discussion Jan. 11 related to the handling of indoor events, Pawhuska High School Principal Lori Justus said that wrestling and basketball homecomings will be limited-access school assemblies for students rather than public events, open to all.

Addie Roanhorse, vice president of the board, expressed concern about students attending the homecoming events without parents being consulted.

“Of course they are going to want to go,” Roanhorse said regarding students, “but they live with grandma and grandpa.”

Principal Justus said information will be sent to parents about the events.

“We are not going to mandate people to go to the assembly,” she said.

Cash said school district leadership is sensitive to the subject of students possibly spreading COVID-19.

“Our population of students really does not contract this like other populations, but they definitely can spread it,” he said.