Masks will be optional at Salem Schools in August

Masks will be optional at Salem Schools in August


At the regular meeting of the Salem Community School Board of Trustees on Monday evening, the board approved a return to school policy that will see students and staff starting classes in August without wearing masks. 

Indiana’s Covid numbers have dramatically declined since May despite the rise of variants across the US. 

According to Superintendent Jon Acton, the corporation is working with East Washington and Paoli Schools on similar plans. 

The policy states that facemasks will be optional for all students and staff in all grades during school hours and extra-curricular events. 

Federal law requires facemasks to be worn when riding on a school bus. 

Salem Community School Corporation will continue to provide hand sanitizing stations throughout its buildings and have hand sanitizer available in each class.

Salem Community School Corporation will continue to maintain clean facilities by continuing the cleaning protocols established in 2020-21.  

Salem Community School Corporation will follow isolation and quarantine recommendations from the CDC, ISDH and Washington County Health Department.  Continuation of learning for students in quarantine will be done virtually. 

Salem Community School Corporation will make Covid-19 tests available in nurses’ stations for those students and staff that meet IDHS testing criteria.

Salem Community School Corporation will work with WCHD and other providers to make Covid-19 vaccines available to students and staff.

Salem Community School Corporation will ensure that the accommodations are made for children with disabilities that allow them the opportunity to have the same health and safety policies as non-disabled students have.

Salem Community School Corporation will work in coordination with the ISDH and the Washington County Health Department to provide a safe, clean, and healthy school environment.

Acton said the plan was updated at the July 12 regular meeting of the Salem Community School Corporation, where the public was given an opportunity to comment on the plan.

There was no comment. 

Acton said the plan will be reviewed prior to the opening of the 2021 school year and as needed throughout the year. 

He said if updates or revisions are necessary, the public will have the opportunity to comment at a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of Salem Community School Corporation. 

The next scheduled review will be on December 13, 2021, a regular meeting of the Board.


The board also approved a medical leave for Acton, who is facing a battle with cancer. 

The leave begins July 19 and Acton said he hoped to return next spring. In the meantime, Dr. Kim Thurston, Assistant Superintendent, will manage day to day duties at the school along with Brent Minton. 

Salem Superintendent Jon Acton presented his wife, Lindsey, and son, Andrew, with Sagamore of Salem awards for their care through his cancer treatments. He will take a leave of absence beginning July 19.

In a note to staff, Acton said “the goal of myself, my family and medical team is to complete treatment and recovery plans in order to have the best chance to defeat cancer. For the sake of my personal family as well as Salem CS, I grudgingly conceded that medical leave is the best strategy for immediate, long-term and sustainable success.”

Acton said he would continue to collaborate with Thurston on corporation matters and promote Salem CS to everyone he comes in contact with. 

“It is an exciting time to be a Salem Lion with key personnel additions including a corporation STEAM Director and athletic strength and conditioning coach/teacher. Construction will begin within the month on the new FEMA Safe Rooms/Fine Arts and STEAM Centers. Upon completion, Salem Community Schools will be the ONLY school corporation in the Midwest to have Safe Room/Tornado shelters capable of protecting every student and staff member in the corporation. These facilities will extend protection and shelter to the entire community of Salem during non-school hours.”

Acton thank the community and school staff for their support. 

“I am hopeful that a full recovery is obtainable so I may return to work at the Best Small School Corporation in the State,” he said. 

Attorney Tom Scifres said he had been impressed with Acton and noted a change in morale and direction of the school since he had been in the position since Spring 2020. 


The board approved the following staff changes.

  • Anne Scarlett – Resignation from SMS Special Ed Teacher
  • John Skomp – Resignation from SCS Director of Convergence and Innovation
  • Duane Davis – Resignation from BSE Music Teacher
  • Christina Worley – Resignation from BSE Instructional Assistant
  • Ashley Williams – Resignation from Full-Time SCS Bus Driver to Sub Bus Driver
  • Zach George – New Hire, Strength and Conditioning Teacher/Coach
  • Nick Roby – New Hire, BSE 4th Grade Teacher
  • Ronnie Hobbs – New Hire, BSE 5th Grade Teacher
  • Brennyn Roby – New Hire, SMS Counselor
  • Kayla Cornett – SMS Cafeteria
  • Amber Simmons – BSE Cafeteria 
  • Tina Ward – BSE Cafeteria
  • Jeremy Lee – SHS ISS Instructional Assistant
  • Chris Catlin – Transfer from BSE 5th Grade to 8th Grade SMS Science Teacher
  • J. Ben Moore – Volunteer Strength Training for Football
  • Hunter Meadows – Volunteer Assistant Boys Soccer Coach
  • Tim Johnston, Larry Hoover, Jean Dowen and Blair Winslow – 2021 Band Camp Assistants. 
  • Becky Day – SMS Late Bus Duty
  • Kelsey Harrell – Transfer from BSE 1st Grade to 5th Grade
  • Ashley Williams – Transfer from Title 1 to Kindergarten
  • Renee Lamb – Transfer from 1st Grade to Title 1
  • Jessica Morgan – STEAM Director
  • Duane Malloy – Varsity Head Basketball Coach


The Board approved $100 per employee reimbursement for school health insurance when a staff member uses the new clinic. 


  • Herf Jones was approved to be the graduation provider for 2022.
  • The Board approved a curriculum for computer science that was previously provided through Prosser.
  • The board approved a $1500 stipend for staff to be paid through the Esser funding, which was provided by the Federal Government. 
  • The board approved a proposal from Koetter Construction to replace flooring at Bradie Shrum Elementary and Salem High School. The bid was for $632,000 plus a $17,000 option for elementary school porcelain tile and $63,000 for high school tile. This money also comes from the Esser funding. 
  • John Jones accepted the monthly Community Support/Business Award for his support of Salem Schools.