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In this weeks edition:

Why excludes the public???

I must say that I am extremely disappointed in the Braxton County Board of Education for not loosening the restrictions on their meetings and continuing to do everything virtually. I tried to “nicely” point out that their current virtual meeting format, prevented the press and public from asking questions and mades it much more difficult for us to maintain accuracy in reporting on the meetings given the often poor sound quality complicated by the use of face covering. Of course the majority of our citizens don’t have high speed internet access to listen in, so the rely on our coverage. Unfortunately, they didn’t take the hint.
I understand their concern, but other public bodies are allowing attendance to their activities and I really can’t see why the Board is reluctant. The County Commission hasn’t missed a meeting during the pandemic, and they haven’t excluded or restricted the public or media from any of them. They have taken precautions, but it has been pretty much business as usual, or as close as we can get in these trying times. The city councils of our community have functioned similarly as well.
The fact is, the Board has more space than most of the above-mentioned groups. They, the Board, could easily accommodate 10 to 15 people in their meeting room and still observe social distancing. They seldom have more than that attending even before all this started. If space is an issue, the Board easily has access to the Middle School cafeteria or gym since they are just down the hall.
I am sure the Board is trying to do the right thing… but they need to understand that distancing themselves from the public creates an air that adds to the public distrust they are trying to overcome.
Then there is the fact that… if we can safely put children in a classroom, which I certainly believe we can, there is no good reason that the Board of Education can not allow the public and media to attend their meetings. I hope the new configuration of the Board will agree… virtual meetings are just a one way mirror and that’s not good enough for a truly open and above board meeting.

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