McCarrick Addresses COVID-19 Concerns from Audience
Upper Perkiomen School Board Member Keith McCarrick addresses concerned
citizens outside of the Middle School after the UPSD Boardrecessed their meet-
ing due to masking concerns.
As Thursday's Upper Perkiomen School Board regular meeting ended after just seven minutes, Keith McCarrick became the momentary target for a group of residents angry about the district's facemask policy. As he walked towards the edge of the Middle School auditorium stage Thursday night, McCarrick was deluged with comments.
"Why are you wearing the mask?" one person asked.
After moving to the floor, McCarrick attempted to ...
Amid objections from many parents, the Upper Perkiomen School Board voted Tuesday to continue its current face mask policy. The members approved an action item amending the district's revised Health and Safety plan that complies with a recent order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health mandating their use by all students, staff and visitors inside all schools in reaction to rising COVID-19 cases.
Several school board members described the mask requirement as their best option to maintain in-person learning. The district's hands are tied, according to Member Kerry Drake.
"If having everyone wearing masks keeps us from going back to virtual -- and anything better is better than virtual -- then it's a good thing to do," Drake said.
Shana Jordan, of Pennsburg, described the five members who voted for the item as cowards. Jeff Borchelt called them "a bunch of tyrants." The Red Hill resident assured them he would be running for school board.
Jennifer Beltz, a Marlborough resident, described the members' actions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic as appalling. Cynthia Smith expressed her disappointment in the board's vote. "This is not how our society should work," said Smith, a Hereford resident.
Board President Melanie Cunningham addressed the criticisms near the end of the meeting, which started five days earlier. First, she reminded the audience that the members are volunteers.
"I don't believe there are any cowards on the board," Cunningham said. "It's not the district's responsibility to keep people safe on your own time. You do what you need to do. We do what we need to do on school time to keep everyone safe."
Earlier in the meeting, the board president explained her decision to recess to the original meeting on Sept. 9 after seven minutes. Cunningham said she had two options: "remove and embarrass" the group of people who refused to wear their face masks in the middle school auditorium or end it and reconvene virtually.
I would have been ...