This time, C-R draws praise for COVID efforts


By Jim Poole

After enduring criticism for their mask protocol at past meetings, Cobleskill-Richmondville school board members garnered support on Monday night.
Several speakers praised the board and administration for weathering criticism and sticking to a strict mask policy.
And Superintendent Carl Mummenthey supported the praise by noting a strict mask policy is necessary as COVID numbers rise.
Former board member Jeff Foote, also the father of two C-R students, said criticism at past meetings “was not based on facts.”
“Continue your level-headedness in keeping our children safe,” Mr. Foote added.
He urged C-R to follow factual evidence.
“Science is telling us it’s too soon to abandon masks,” Mr. Foote said.
Pete Nichols, an EMT, echoed those words, telling the board and Mr. Mummenthey that “what you’re doing right now is exactly right.”
He’s saddened by seeing kids wearing masks, but wearing masks and being in school “is better than sitting in front of a computer at home,” Mr. Nichols said, referring to remote schooling.
High school teacher Bonnie Nichols agreed, adding that even with masks, “it’s so much better to be in school compared to last year,” when C-R and other schools were in remote mode.
“Thank you for keeping our students safe, and thank you for keeping our students in school,” Ms. Nichols said.
A different message came from Annie Breglia of Summit, who said she was concerned about the mask mandate and indicated masks should be a choice.
“Personal freedom is a very big part of this country,” Ms. Breglia said.
Although he wasn’t arguing, Mr. Mummenthey maintained that masks are still necessary. School started with Schoharie County in a high rate of transmission, according to CDC guidelines, Mr. Mummenthey said.
Now the transmission rate is five times what it was, according to CDC measures, Mr. Mummenthey added.
“I salute our faculty and staff for keeping our students safe,” he said. “It’s been a collective community effort. We’re proud of how hard students and families have worked.”