School board

The Logan-Hocking School Board met Tuesday night to adopt changes to the district’s mask policy.

LOGAN — The Logan-Hocking School District Board of Education voted to require facial coverings indoors for all students and staff at a special meeting held Tuesday evening in the Logan High School Theater.

Starting Wednesday, all Logan-Hocking School District (LHSD) students and staff will be required to wear a mask while indoors (and when using school transportation).

“At a minimum, face coverings should be cloth/fabric and be properly worn to cover an individual’s nose, mouth, and chin,” the district said in an announcement.

The district announced the special meeting on its Facebook page on Sept. 4; the post was met with outrage and discourse, seeing more than 500 comments and 180 shares. Around 50 people attended the meeting and four registered to speak before the board.

The meeting came 13 days into the 2021-2022 school year; and 624 quarantines and 50 positive COVID cases, Supt. Monte Bainter shared at the meeting. An entire elementary school class has been quarantined already, Bainter said.

According to LHSD’s COVID-19 Dashboard, as of Wednesday morning a total of 631 students and 20 staff have been quarantined, and there have been seven positive cases in staff and 52 in the student body. There are seven active cases in students.

Right now, per state mandates, students who are exposed to COVID must quarantine for 10 days or five days with a negative test result following day five, Bainter said Tuesday.

Bainter explained that the use of masks will likely diminish the amount of quarantining required. He described the high amount of quarantining as a “revolving door.” All absences due to COVID are excused, Bainter said Tuesday.

Bainter has already publicly stated that the district would open and operate on a tiered system in regards to COVID regulations, The Logan Daily News previously reported.

The district opened on Tier 1, meaning that “LHSD strongly encourages that anyone not vaccinated or those with a pre-existing health condition wear a mask at all times while at school,” Bainter said previously in a district email.

Tier 2 means “students will wear a mask anytime they are not in their assigned seat per seating chart;” Tier 3, “Students and staff wear a mask while indoors;” and Tier 4, remote learning.

The board voted Tuesday evening to move into Tier 3, skipping Tier 2 entirely. The board will reevaluate the tier status of the district in several weeks, Bainter said.

Students and staff are now to wear masks while indoors, however, exemptions are accepted; Bainter said a physician’s note works as proof. Masks have already been required on buses per Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public transit regulations, Bainter previously told The Logan Daily News.

LHSD Athletic Director Lisa Morelli told The Logan Daily News Tuesday that Logan High School’s away football game at Warren this Friday had been canceled, as well as Logan’s home ninth grade football game next Thursday, and next Monday’s reserve away game (also at Warren). Bainter said at Tuesday’s meeting that close to 80% of the football team is indisposed.

Bainter reiterated that per state quarantine protocols, he’s sending healthy kids home – something he does not want to do. According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), “students benefit cognitively, emotionally and developmentally from in-person learning.”

“My number one thing here is trying to keep kids in school, because I know what happens when kids aren’t here – (what) happens is, learning loss occurs,” Bainter said, later adding that he knows that sending kids home isn’t always best for parents, either.

The Hocking County Health Department reported on its Facebook page Tuesday that the county had 112 active cases, nine hospitalizations (none of whom vaccinated, and not all hospitalized in Hocking County), and three deaths since Aug. 1.

According to ODH data, as of Tuesday afternoon the county has a total of 2,584 confirmed cases, 2,287 presumed recovered cases, 182 hospitalizations and 65 deaths.

Pediatric COVID cases are on the rise nationwide, according to a report by The Columbus Dispatch. On Sept. 4, the Dispatch reported that COVID cases in Ohio children had surpassed the previous record with 7,127 in a single week, accounting for 24.4% of all cases statewide.

Of the more than 134,858 Ohio children who have been diagnosed with COVID, 1,369 were hospitalized and eight had died as of Sept. 2; therefore, a hospitalization rate of 1% and a mortality rate of 0.005% among children, state data shows, according to the Dispatch report.

Tuesday marked the second special meeting the school board has held this school year. The Logan Daily News previously reported that August’s last-minute emergency meeting had a turnout of about 100. Three law enforcement officers were present, though only calmed the crowd once.

Before public comment Tuesday, board member Amy Black said that she had received 34 letters of support from students and staff in favor of a mask mandate. During public comment, parents expressed outrage over circumstances, masking, quarantining and even faculty behavior.

Amanda Chaffin told the board that her sixth grade daughter saw a teacher have a “mental breakdown over the students not wearing masks.” Chaffin, emotional, described the teacher’s pleas with the students to wear masks, then talking to them about hospitalizations and vaccines. She referred to the teacher’s behavior as “mental abuse.”

“I think teachers are definitely overstepping their boundaries in this district,” Chaffin said, adding that her children have already had COVID and therefore have some natural immunity. “My (children) are being discriminated against and their education might be impacted because they (did not take an) experimental drug.”

Leifkan Andrews, a parent, told the board that he homeschooled both of his kids K-8.

“My son had his junior and senior years destroyed here by this virus scam of the policies of the high school here,” Andrews said. “Vote (yes) and my daughter leaves,” he concluded, and was met with applause.

The board was met with a few outbursts, and though public comment had ended, they continued to listen. Another parent said children should be taught better hygiene in general and that masks aren’t the end-all solution; an LHSD student spoke up at one point, a 17-year-old who attends Tri-County Career Center, to say that he has proof of masking’s inefficiency.

After the meeting adjourned, all of the board but Bainter left the theater. Bainter stayed behind and conversed with about a dozen parents for at least 10 minutes. A couple of parents voiced their appreciation for Bainter’s continuance of a dialogue. Parents also said they did not want to have to attend a meeting such as Tuesday’s every three weeks.

Parents also voiced concerns with their children’s inability to wear masks — for reasons such as asthma, eczema, or even fidgeting caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — and the expenses COVID testing incurs.

There are free COVID testing providers in the county, including the Hocking County EMA, which can be reached at (740) 385-6168 and provides tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) free to county residents; and the Logan-Hocking District libraries. However, the Logan branch is out of tests indefinitely, according to the library’s website. More information can be found at www.hocking.lib.oh.us/content/free-covid-19-home-test-kits-available-curbside-only/.

CVS pharmacies also offer free tests, though as of Wednesday, the Logan location was not available as a testing option. More information can be found at www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing/.

The health department is hosting several free vaccination clinics soon, too. There will be a walk-in Moderna clinic today (Thursday) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the health department, 350 Route 664; a Pfizer clinic at the Hocking County Fair, Monday, Sept. 13, from 4-6 p.m.; and a Pfizer vaccine clinic for children ages 12-18, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the health department, call (740) 385-3030 to schedule.

Other vaccine providers in the county include:

Kroger pharmacy, 31550 Chieftain Drive, (740) 380-2041, schedule online at www.kroger.com/rx/covid-eligibility/

  • Hocking Valley Community Hospital, HVCH COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, CIC Building, 541 Route 664 N., call (740) 380-8402 to schedule
  • Hopewell Health Centers, Logan Primary Health Care Clinic, 30381 Chieftain Drive, call (740) 385-2555 to schedule
  • CVS Pharmacy, 1390 W. Hunter St., (740) 385-8581, schedule online at

Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP) is offering free rides to vaccine appointments for those in Hocking County through Logan Public Transit, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Interested passengers may schedule by calling (740) 385-6999.

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