At Tuesday night’s Rutland City school board meeting, it was determined that the “Ravens” will remain the school mascot for the time being. Board members said the door is open to change that in the future.
Board Chair Hurley Cavacas, Jr. said Tuesday’s vote about the special ad hoc committee report only means procedures were followed sufficiently during the vote last October to eliminate the Native American-themed Raiders mascot.
“There were some deviations but the understanding of the board was [that it was a valid motion],” Cavacas said of the 5-4 vote.
Fellow board member/Ravens advocate Alison Notte then suggested said, “the board is in agreement that the mascot the mascot of Rutland public schools is [the Ravens].”
Cavacas then said that this issue can come up again.
“I don’t believe that the board is in agreement ma’am,” he said. “I cannot a prevent a future motion coming up in the next year or two on whatever, just like this motion came up. I can’t guarantee any of that to you as chair. But as of right now, I can tell you that the mascot is the Ravens, yes.”
Asked when a possible vote on the mascot might come up again, Cavacas told True North on Wednesday “it’s to the [school board] members to bring up agenda items.”
COVID-19 masks and contact tracing discussion
Before the discussion on the mascot, the board heard comments both from the public and board member Tricia O’Connor concerning the challenges and logistics of their numerous COVID mitigation efforts. O’Connor shared about how her own family’s hardships.
“Looking at the bigger picture, which is statistics are showing children are overcoming this, and healthy adults are too,” O’Connor said. “So that being said, for my son to miss out on school for seven days because he could be positive to me is just unbelievable that we are going through these times when we can actually hold somebody out of school because they ‘could’ have COVID.”
Data from Vermont’s Department of Health indicates supports O’Connor’s notion that children are at low risk from the virus. Data also shows that every age group that might work at or visit a school up to age 79 has risks of dying from COVID-19 at .134 percent or less.
Regardless of those data trends, local principals shared that their administrations are spending many hours on COVID-related tasks. In addition to enforcing masks on the young children, they’ve spent much time calling dozens of parents to ask who their kids have been with and inquiring about their vaccine status. These tasks must be done each time any student receives a positive COVID-19 test.
“I was talking to one of our principals yesterday and the principal I spent just the entire day working on COVID topics,” Superintendent William Olsen said. “We really have to be thankful for the staff, the nurses, the administrators that we have in this district. I know that the nurses have worked many, many hours past the school day and the administrators as well, past the school day working on contact tracing and trying to make sure that our schools are safe and healthy.”
Elsewhere in the country, some health officials are saying that forcing kids to do all these things after a possible COVID-19 case or interaction with a case is excessive.
“One of the things that the parents have been most concerned about have been policies that would quarantine dozens and dozens of healthy students if there was one positive test in a particular classroom and that was incredibly disruptive to kids’ education,” Florida Republican Gov. Ron Desantis said on Sept. 22.