The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted an Emergency meeting to discuss the COVID protocols. This meeting was held in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom on Monday, August 30, 2021 at 5:30 PM at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28659.
Present for the meeting were Chairman Mr. Randall “Rudy” Holbrook, Vice-Chairman Mrs. Sharron Huffman, Board Members Mr. Hardin Kennedy, III, Mr. Kirk Walker, and Mrs. Joan Caudill. Also attending were Superintendent Mr. D. Mark Byrd, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Westley Wood, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Donna Cotton, Chief Technology Officer Mrs. Julie Triplett, Chief Finance Officer Mr. Seth Prevette, Director of Maintenance Mr. Bergie Speaks, Executive Director of Federal Programs/Career & Technical Education Dr. Joe Bullis, Director of Transportation Mr. Eric Barker, Director of Child Nutrition Mr. Marty Johnson, Public Information Officer Mrs. Morgan Mathis, and Administrative Assistant Mrs. Carolyn Triplett. Special Guest included Wilkes County Law Enforcement, Wilkes County Sheriff Mr. Chris Shew, and Mrs. Lyndsey Roberts from the Wilkes County Health Department.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook called the meeting to order.
Chairman Mr. Randall “Rudy” Holbrook recognized Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd for the Superintendent’s Welcome and Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Byrd stated, “I know we have a lot of people here to speak tonight, and important business to carry out, so I will make this brief but ask for a few favors from everyone in the room."
"Dealing with a pandemic is hard for everyone, no matter who you are or what you do for a living. We need to all remember that there are no textbooks or guides on how to do this, and people around us are simply doing the best that they can. For years, I have been asked why I have spent most of my life in Wilkes County, and without a doubt, the number one reason has been the people. I have never met people that I felt looked out for one another more than people in Wilkes County. Even those who didn’t even seem to like each other would help each other during a crisis. As a whole, our world seems to be losing a lot of this as we move through this pandemic. No school system in this state handled the challenges of this pandemic better than Wilkes County in 2020-2021, and a big reason for that was the support of our community. So, as we try to figure out how to maneuver through the challenges that the new school year has brought, let’s continue to support one another even if we don’t agree. No matter the crisis, people in this county know how to rise to the occasion and deal with it, and let’s be the ones to show others how it is done. Even when we don’t agree we can still support one another. The pandemic is concerning enough, but we can’t let it damage relationships as well."
"Another cause of stress that I hear of for many people is the amount of misinformation being shared. Think about your own lives and probably each of us knows of an instance where our day got harder because of something someone shared that was not true. My fear is that if we are forced to spend so much time combating misinformation that we won’t be able to focus on what really needs our attention. This seems to be getting worse. Please don’t take this as a political statement, because it is not, but this has become a tremendous cause for concern for us recently. My fear is that misinformation at the local level is going to put someone in harm’s way. So in order to help us all, please remember, if Wilkes County Schools has information that you need to know, you will hear it from us and will not need to seek other sources to make you aware of it. If you are a social media fan, follow the Wilkes County Schools pages, and we will keep you informed. And if you just have a question about what you have heard, reach out and we will tell you all that we legally can. Please remember, if you haven’t heard it from Wilkes County Schools, it may not be accurate, and please help us to focus on what we need to by not sharing it unless you know that it is true. Helping one another keep their focus where it needs to be can be a great way to help us get through this pandemic as well."
Public Comments were accepted and each individual that signed up was given five minutes to discuss their views, beliefs, and preference for the wearing of masks in Wilkes County Schools. Upon hearing from several parents and community members, a vote was taken by the Wilkes County Board of Education.
A motion was made by Mr. Kirk Walker to follow all guidelines of the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit and Wilkes County Health Department effective August 31, 2021. This will require wearing masks to help with the COVID-19 virus in Wilkes County Schools. A vote was taken with the following results: 3 voted for and 2 voted against. For the motion were Mrs. Sharron Huffman, Mr. Kirk Walker, and Mrs. Joan Caudill. Against the motion were Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook and Mr. Hardin Kennedy, III. Since the majority rules, students, staff, and visitors will wear masks upon entering our Wilkes County Schools buildings and facilities effective August 31, 2021. This ruling will be reviewed within thirty days. Chairman Mr. Randall “Rudy” Holbrook also stressed that while he did not vote for the mask mandate, the majority had ruled and he would support this action. He asked that everyone in the room do so as well.
Chairman Mr. Holbrook made the following announcement:
- September 6, 2021 – Labor Day Holiday
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next meeting to be September 13, 2021. The meeting will be held in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom located at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina beginning at 5:30 PM.
On a motion by Mrs. Sharron Huffman, seconded by Mrs. Joan Caudill and duly carried, there being no further business, the Board adjourned at 7:17 PM.