NEW CUMBERLAND — Hancock County Schools’ athletic programs will be expanded to include the county’s sixth graders, beginning next school year.

The Hancock County School Board, at its meeting on Monday, voted 5-0 on a proposal to allow sixth-graders at Hancock County schools to begin participating in college interscholastic sports teams.

The board noted that the move would take effect July 1, with eligible students able to participate beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

The proposal had been discussed by the board at its last meeting, but members agreed to defer a decision pending a scheduled discussion by the West Virginia High Schools Activities Commission.

That discussion reportedly took place over the past week, with Dan Enich, director of vocational, technical and adult education, reporting a favorable response from members.

“Everything was positive” said Enic. “It’s on board to move forward.”

Board member Larry Shaw noted that there should also not be interstate competition issues, as had previously been a concern.

“It’s no problem for kids to go to Ohio to compete,” said Shaw.

Enich said some schedules may need to be adjusted because not all regions will have sixth-graders competing, but it would primarily affect team sports.

Board member Michelle Chappell asked about support staff and whether there would be enough staff available, but board member Chris Gillette noted the move would allow for the addition of sixth-graders. existing teams, not the creation of a new team.

In other cases, the school board approved the use of county schools as polling places for the May 10 primary and November 8 general elections; a curriculum for the 2022-23 school year; various staff moves; science textbooks to be used from 2022 to 2028; new policies for the Title IX complaint and grievance process and procedures for reporting and investigating harassment, discrimination or violence while overriding previous policies.

Council also heard from resident Jonathan Pratt, who questioned the council’s use of outside legal counsel for various matters over the past few years.

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