More details on the return to traditional school from the Mon County Schools Superintendent’s Office.
Results from a questionnaire circulated by Mon County Schools this week are scheduled to be released tomorrow, Friday, February 19. The questionnaire asked parents how their child will attend school based on the School Board’s plan to return to five-day, in-person instruction for some grades as early as March 1.
Based on evidence from across the nation showing that student achievement is suffering with extended remote schooling and that transmission in school environments has been extremely low when masks, distancing, and other measures are observed, the state of West Virginia is moving quickly to get kids back into the classroom. In fact, Governor Jim Justice announced this week that he plans to lift even more restrictions placed on schools in the coming days.
Riding momentum on the state level, Superintendent Eddie Campbell made the recommendation at the February 9 School Board meeting to return to five-day, in-person instruction. He said that 58 percent of students are currently in blended learning and he believes approximately that share will choose five-day in-person schooling. Having only just over half of students in schools would mean that distancing could be observed—although it must be noted that Mon County Schools accepts one meter, or about three feet, of distance, when the six feet the Centers for Disease Control recommends isn’t feasible. If the questionnaire shows that more students plan to return to school than anticipated, the Superintendent’s Office will have more work to do between now and March 1.
“Central office and on-site administrators have been developing contingency strategies with our classroom teachers to accommodate higher re-entry participation. We’ll use the last week of February to activate those plans, if need be,” says Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico. She anticipates that all Mon County students who want to be learning in person will be doing so by March 12. The remainder will attend online full-time, and blended learning will be phased out.
The Superintendent’s Office has said that families will be locked into the choice that they made on this week’s questionnaire for the rest of the school year. People we’re talking to are asking about that and more.
- What is the percentage of students that will be on each school campus?
- How is the meter OK for physical distancing in schools when the CDC recommends six feet?
- The CDC says high school students transmit the virus at a rate similar to college students. Is going back to five-day instruction smart with this population?
- And what if, after further reflection, parents change their minds? Are they really locked into the choice they made this week, or will Mon County Schools continue to work with families?
The conversation at the School Board meeting next Tuesday, February 23, should be interesting. Stick with Morgantown magazine for details.