Tuesday evening citizens who live in the Plymouth School District or those who have students in the Plymouth Community School Corporation had an opportunity to speak on the corporation’s Return to School Plan for the 2021-22 school year. 

The specially called meeting was held in the PHS cafeteria to allow more people to attend and be able to social distance.

A total of 24 people spoke during the hour-long meeting.  Both Lisa Letsinger, the Marshall County Public Health Nurse and Dr. Byron the County Health Officer spoke on the recommendation to have students mask up regardless of vaccination as a way to keep in-person learning. Letsinger told the crowd that the Strike Team from the IN Department of Health was in Marshall County last week and administered 804 rapid tests.  Results from the rapid testing showed 197 positive cases of the coronavirus.

Dr. Holm pleaded with both parents and the school board to keep work together to keep the children in the classroom.

When the public spoke, School Board President Melissa Christiansen asked each one to come to the podium, speak for up to 2 minutes and not repeat comments that were already stated during the public hearing.  She also noted that citizens should address the board and not those gathered in the room, to be courteous and respectful. 

Twenty-two people spoke.  Michael Houin said he had a 6-year-old in school who coughs constantly and doesn’t feel well because he wears a mask all day. He said he saw teachers at the Blueberry Festival without masks and said he has concerns that it’s difficult to recognize people wearing masks. 

Speakers questioned the effectiveness of masking and the negative impacts they are seeing in their own children. 

Mark Morrison asked why mandate masking when you allow students to play football and wrestle.  He also encouraged the school corporation to put COVID numbers on the school’s websites to give the pubic more information. 

Several speakers discussed the lack of communication from the corporation with parents.  They also suggested putting informational COVID numbers out on the school’s website. Many of the parents said it’s their right to make decisions for their children and not the corporations. 

Other concerns were the mental health effects that students of all ages are experiencing by having to wear a mask all day in school.

The meeting was for public comment only, and members of the school board listened intently but did not respond to comments or questions.

The Return to Learning Plan for the 2021-22 school year is available on the Plymouth Community School Corporation’s website at https://www.plymouth.k12.in.us