Justin Isaly was appointed to the Switzerland of Ohio Local Schools Board of Education during the board's regular meeting Thursday, during which officials also addressed public concerns about air quality and heating at River High School, where renovation work is ongoing.
Board members interviewed several potential candidates during a 38-minute closed-door session, after which they announced Isaly as their choice.
Isaly took his seat at the table immediately after being sworn in.
Photo by Art Limann
Switzerland of Ohio Local Schools Board of Education Treasurer Lance Erlwein, left, swears in newly appointed board member Justin Isaly during the board’s regular meeting Thursday.
Shortly thereafter, Sardis resident Terry Williamson asked questions concerning the air quality at River. She said she was told the Bureau of Workers' Compensation would test the air in January, which is the earliest it could be scheduled.
Williamson said her daughter, a freshman at River High School, was forced to leave the school under doctor's orders due to respiratory problems allegedly caused by bad air in the building. She also claims other students and staff have had health issues due to the poor air quality.
Board members and Superintendent Larry Elliott assured her student and staff safety is their highest priority.
Elliott said the district has developed security plans for all schools and principals have been advised to practice them.
"Most importantly, we are working with local law enforcement agencies," he said, but did not go into detail.
Students will return to River High School after Christmas break. If the air is found to be unsafe, arrangements will be made to move students.
Some community members have said students at the school were wearing coats or wrapping themselves in blankets to stay warm during class.
District officials have said the temperature inside the school averaged in the 60s, even on colder days.
New heating system components recently arrived at the school, but the arrangement is temporary with electricity and a hot water pipe system being used.
Marc Ring, director of support services for the school district, explained the heat would not be able to be controlled, but said students would be warm and there may actually be some "hot spots."
Officials hope students will be able to use the north side of the building while work is being done in the south side.
Ring also noted that problems with leaking roofs at other school projects were minor and would be taken care of and paid for by contractors.
Ring said he hopes students will be able to move into the new Powhatan Point Elementary School at the end of February.
A delay in getting new furniture was blamed for the date being moved back, and work is continuing as scheduled on all other school projects.