Mon County School Board votes to have kids back in classrooms full-time starting March 1.
Expect a survey from the Mon County Board of Education via your child’s school in the coming days, and consider it carefully—because the education delivery model that you choose for your child will remain in place for the rest of the school year.
With the grace time the state granted Mon County Schools when it issued its back-to-school directive in mid-January running out, the Mon County Board met on Tuesday, February 9. At that meeting, it adopted a calendar sending elementary school kids back to the classroom five days per week on March 1, middle school students March 4, and high school students March 8.
Mon County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell made the recommendation for the full return. He cited an absence of evidence of any transmission in schools and full support by local health experts who have been informing the Board’s decisions over the past year.
Campbell’s recommendation also came on the heels of the identification of an outbreak at, and subsequent closing, of Mason Dixon Elementary School on Tuesday. Campbell explained that contact tracing at the school proved the three student cases were the result of community spread via a birthday party that the students attended off campus. As a result of the positives, 58 students and eight staff members were quarantined. The school was closed for two weeks out of an abundance of caution.
Campbell said the situation at Mason Dixon demonstrates the administration’s ability to handle these situations when they come up. “I want folks to know that we have attacked these things very aggressively when they come to our attention,” he said. “We haven’t had one situation of school spread in our buildings since January.”
He also reported the current COVID numbers in schools for the week: 14 positive students, one positive staff member, 28 students on quarantine, and seven staff members on quarantine. These numbers do not reflect the Mason Dixon cases. Mon County Schools has been posting updated numbers here. And any outbreaks in schools—defined as two or more cases involving students or staff from different households—can be found here.
Parents still not comfortable with a full return to school do have options. You can choose to keep your child in the distance learning model, in which kids learn from Mon County teachers remotely from home, but that choice will remain in place for the remainder of the school year. No more back and forth based on improvements in case numbers.
The Centers for Disease Control is expected to release additional guidance this week on the return to school. However, it’s been reported that the guidance will cover operational strategies for school returning to full, in-person instruction, and not address whether the time is right for a full return.
Two Mon County Board members voted against the new plan—Sara Anderson and Melanie Baker Rogers—both citing a preference for a gradual return to school rather than the “aggressive” plans of action presented.