West Virginia schools will reopen in August under non-traditional schedule
Students in West Virginia will return to the classroom in August, but the schedule will not be traditional.
Members of the West Virginia Board of Education discussed and then, later in the day, released guidelines for reopening schools Wednesday.
The guidelines include three scenarios, none of which include a traditional five-day schedule.
According to the guidelines, scenario one (Safer at School/Safer at Home) is preferred for elementary schools. Under that scenario, schools would operate on a four-day school week. Students would be kept in core groups, with resources brought into the classroom. Students would also eat meals in their classroom. Congregating areas, including cafeterias, would be off limits and outdoor classes would be utilized too.
Scenario two (Blending Learning Delivery Models) is designed for high schools and possibly middle schools and would be a hybrid-blended model. In the meeting Wednesday morning, the board said some schools could have in-person instruction four days a week, while others schools could hold in-person classes just two days a week, with the rest of instruction being virtual. After going into executive session Wednesday afternoon, Superintendent Clayton Burch says the board is not looking at any two-day a week models now. Instead, they are focusing on "creative scheduling."
The third scenario (Full Remote Delivery) would consist of all virtual learning, but that scenario would likely only be utilized in a state of emergency issued by the Governor's office due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent national and state emergencies have shed a glaring light on critical issues facing children and families,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Child well-being, equity and access to technology, and the achievement gap will be the main focus of our work because they are an important part of everything we do. Our efforts will continue as we work with our partners to further develop the framework that will assist counties making local decisions.”
According to the West Virginia Department of Education, individual counties can use any of the three scenarios or blend the models to best meet the needs of their students.
The board says students could be required to wear masks on buses. They are also considering requiring an extra adult be present on each school bus to conduct temperature screenings and windows on the buses may need to be down.
Field trips will likely not be scheduled, and visitors may not be allowed in schools.
More than 40 partner organizations vetted, reviewed and provided insight around the focus areas that include: instruction and learning; physical, social-emotional and mental wellness; career technical education (CTE); child nutrition; special education; safe schools and transportation; finance; extracurricular activities/extended activities; and technology.
You can view the entire re-entry scenarios in-depth