State school superintendent clarifies different plans for school re-entry

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Superintendents across West Virginia are trying to compile their re-entry plans for school. Superintendent Clayton Burch says there are a number of different options being considered, but added in a recent video from the state Department of Education it was important to understand each of the options.

According to Burch, there is live earning which is the most desired by most families surveyed by the Department of Education.

“Many, many, many families want and need an in-person model. But it must be healthy and it must be safe. Working hand and hand with the Governor and DHHR, we will make sure counties that do open on September 8th for live learning will be safe and will be healthy,” Burch said.

Live learning may included reduced days in the classroom during the week or staggered class times. There will also likely be changes for lunch and classroom changes throughout the day. Masks will also be a priority along with social distancing.

Another option, which may be the choice of some families is described as “virtual learning” by Burch.

“It is to utilize technology and to be full-virtual. Sometimes that is self-paced and sometimes it’s a live teacher broadcasting directly to you. IN whatever case the family has the opportunity to enroll in full, virtual school,” Burch said.

He added students complete all assignments at home through the Internet and technology. They remain public school students and are eligible for sports, and other extra curricular activities. Schools are also still able to county those students involved in virtual learning are still counted toward school funding.

Remote learning, according to Burch, is an entirely different situation.

“Remote learning could happen if the Governor is due to close schools for a health concern, just like they did in the spring. Those students involved in live learning would resort to remote learning,” he said.

Burch said remote learning is done with the understanding not every home in West Virginia is equipped with internet capabilities. All schools need to be prepared for remote learning which means the ability to provide students in those homes which lack technology with paper options for assignments.

None of the re-entry plans is one-size fits all and each county Superintendent is evaluating which of the options will best suit their county. Those plans are due from all 55 county school systems into the Department of Education by. August 14th. School is set to start September 8th.

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