RANDOLPH COUNTY — A longtime Trinity teacher, councilman and school board member will be remembered at Trinity High School after the Randolph County Board of Education voted to name a building after him this week.

The board approved a request to name the new greenhouse building at Trinity High School after Paul Guthrie, whose time at the school was spent primarily as an agricultural teacher. Board chairman Gary Cook recalled his tenure as an educator and government official for his devotion to the youth of the community.

“He taught here forever and really made a positive impact on a lot of kids,” Cook said. “He was one of those ag teachers, doing it way back in the day before it was so much more popular like it is now.”

Guthrie died Nov. 5, 2014, following a lengthy illness. A resident of Trinity from the time of his arrival in 1970, he served on the Randolph County School Board and Trinity City Council, as well as the Archdale-Trinity Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of Faith Baptist Church, where he was a deacon.

Among the many tributes paid to his memory, the Paul Guthrie Scholarship Fund at Trinity High School was set up in his honor. County staff and board members mentioned that there would be a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for a later date, when his name will be added to the building.

Also during the January meeting, the board briefly addressed a resolution that was aimed to generate interest in doing away with isolation for non-positive students exposed to COVID-19. At its December meeting, the board approved a resolution with the stated intent to apply pressure on the state to end requirements for school principals to exclude exposed students from the classroom.

School board members expressed their desire to see only those students who test positive for COVID-19 excluded from the classroom. They called the resolution a “deadline” of sorts for the state to act in changing protocols for sending students home who have not tested positive.

The resolution implied further action could be considered if the state had not curtailed any measures for exclusion, but no such action was taken at the January meeting.

“Last time some of you were here, we were talking about a resolution from this board,” Cook said. “We did send it out. It went about everywhere we could send it, I think. I don’t think we got any results back that I know of.

“We got it into some pretty important hands, but we never heard anything back.”

Several members have questioned why children in classrooms across North Carolina continue to be subjected to contact tracing and isolation from classroom activities when the private sector operates without such control measures. Ball games, movie theaters, retail outlets and other places of business continue to function free of limitations, while schools are bound to follow the rules handed down by the state.

“They can go anywhere, but in a classroom,” Sharon Petty Farlow said. “And now that we’ve made masks optional, there are not a lot of people wearing masks in schools, not a lot at all.”

Citing decreased academic performances and unfavorable psychological outcomes of those who are quarantined, the resolution pointed to collateral damage from quarantine. It stated that students who have been “sporadically, suddenly and repeatedly excluded from school due to COVID-19 measures” have exhibited behavioral issues and suffered emotional and psychological effects due to isolation from peers.

Additionally, the resolution said contact tracing and exclusionary control measures have become unduly burdensome for school staff, causing significant detriment to the school environment and are highly disruptive to families, students, schools and employers. Finally, the measures have also diminished pools of available substitute teachers.

Given that COVID-19 is likely to persist well into the future without a known or defined end, school board members argued, elimination of the protocols would be welcome.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

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