But here are a few concrete details for navigating back-to-school.
We’ve all come to understand that school will likely start in a remote learning environment next week unless the governor’s office removes WVU cases from Monongalia County’s color-coded map calculations—an idea he floated on September 2. A lion’s share of the cases in the county—97 percent—are clustered in the student age groups, and Mon Health System Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Chris Edwards says if WVU cases were removed, Mon County would have a single-digit case count and likely be fully in the green.
That hasn’t happened yet, and Mon County is definitely in orange territory and trending toward red. The BOE has said orange or red on Saturday, September 5, will trigger full remote instruction for the first week of school—at least. This will be re-evaluated with the state’s weekly Saturday evening color-coding update.
Here are a few things we know for certain:
- The school system will focus in the coming days on getting electronic devices out to all students who don’t currently have one. Students in grades 1, 2, and 3 don’t yet have their devices, and the school board has not yet received devices for pre-K or kindergarten. They expect them to arrive in October.
- Parents will also have to complete a self-screening checklist each morning before sending their kids to school. The form is available on the Mon County BOE’s website and on all individual school websites. Depending on their responses each morning, parents will get immediate feedback as to whether it’s safe to send their kids to school that day.
- Additionally, all students in West Virginia this year can eat breakfast and lunch at school each day for free. If school is remote, a feeding program will continue, and State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch has guaranteed that all of the state’s children will be fed no matter what.
For now, the best the school board can do is up its communication game. The school system, and individual schools in some cases, will begin sending recorded messages to parents nightly to communicate important information.