School board takes visitor comments at latest board meeting, school to return full-time

Carter Jones, Editor

A survey was sent to all Maize students to see whether they wanted to come back to school full time or not.

The Maize Board of Education met Monday night to discuss many different topics including congratulating a Maize South counselor, updates on the district bond, taking visitor comments on changing the learning model and voting on changing quarantine regulations.

Senior Avery Dover was one visitor able to speak at the meeting, intending to speak for himself and his fellow students.

“I am not against the option of going fully in person,” Dover said. “We should just do it when the time is right.”

Dover expressed his frustration with the lack of student representation at school board meetings.

“Every time I watch these meetings for a hope of some semblance of representation,” Dover said. “I am being berated by parents asserting how we kids, seniors especially, should feel about our current schedule and the emotional state we’re in.”

Dover explained that the ever-changing learning model is the main cause for poor student performance, also stating the fact that sending students back full time will be the fifth schedule change this school year

“The constant argument that many parents and board members are bringing up is how our grade point average is uniquely low,” Dover said. “Yet every single time we finally start to get adjusted, the schedule is changed, forcing teachers to change their entire lesson plans.”

The survey also asked students if they felt represented in school board meetings or not.

Parent Marc Dotson was another visitor who spoke at the meeting and spoke about how he thinks the school board is straying away from the OneMaize philosophy when it came to discussing the best method for schools.

“COVID created a dichotomy in which there can be no winners,” Dotson said. “Some board members have gone against the OneMaize philosophy of working together by choosing sides in a debate when they should have been uniting the community together.”

He thinks that board members have allowed their personal feelings and bias to cloud their judgment about the health and well-being of community members.

“Anyone who implies that it is okay to force an employee into an unknowingly unsafe situation does not have the community’s best interest at heart,” Dotson said. 

Brooke Grizzell, a mother of students in the district and a physician, spoke at the meeting and has been advocating for in-person learning since August. She also has been advocating for teachers and believes that students should go back to school to receive a quality education.

“The mediocrity of the education that my children and many others have received since last March and the failure of the remote and hybrid learning platform is not any fault of teachers,” Grizzell said.

Grizzell believes teachers who are immunocompromised or have significant medical comorbidities should have special accommodations made for them to teach remotely.

“Data gathered over the last 11 months overwhelmingly supports that students and teachers are safe in buildings with mitigation strategies in place,” she said.

Grizzell says that there is enough room in classrooms for teachers to maintain their six-foot distance from students. She said that she is aware that students will not always be able to maintain their distance but assures that there are medical studies showing that the percentage of particles across the distance of one foot, three feet, or six feet is the exact same assuming both parties are masked.

“Most students, teachers and staff can wear masks, wash their hands, socially distance to the best of their ability and get back to school full time,” she said.

Changes include schools will be returning five days a week instead of four and the board voted to give the superintendent the authority to determine the close contact guidelines for the rest of the school year.