MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After a pandemic shutdown of nearly seven months, students Monongalia County will return to classrooms on Thursday.
Monongalia County School Superintendent Dr. Eddie Campbell announced the plans on WAJR’s Talk of the Town Monday morning after the county moved to green status on the statewide color-coded map Saturday.
The county advanced to green courtesy of a change in what statistics are used to determine the status for each county- whichever statistic is better: daily positive tests or percent positive.
On Friday, Campbell told WAJR News they were preparing to land in the gold range Saturday, so the move to green was a big surprise.
“Surprised is probably an understatement,” Campbell said Monday. “I was really shocked when I saw the map pop up and we were green.”
State School Superintendent Clayton Burch said he’s thankful for the changes but he continues to urge caution as plans to return to classrooms are put in motion.
“I appreciate that we have different models to get back in school, but I don’t think that allows us to get complacent,” Burch said. “I think we need to remind the public- just because you’re green doesn’t mean we’re not sill under very strict mitigation.”
Campbell said he has confidence in the process and was hoping to get to green, but wants to approach the abrupt shift in status with caution.
“It really would enable us at some point, to be able to open our doors to all of our kids again but, with the drastic change we’ve had in the last week, we just want to study that a little bit.”
Thursday will be blended learning for Monongalia County indicating no more than half of the student body will be in any one school building. The students will attend class every other day. Teachers wll have to maintain progress with both groups of students in real-time on each platform- in-person and online.
“We’ve contracted with our own staff for extra duty contracts where they will put in extra time,” Campbell said. “They’re giving up maybe planning periods or lunch periods or working extra hours after school to deliver the blended lessons.”
Athletic directors at Monongalia County high schools are now rushing to salvage the time left for fall sports. University High School AD Jeff Bailey plans multiple opportunities for athletes.
“We do think we have a really good plan B, it will be a lot of repetitive matches, multiple matches with the same team,” Bailey said. “But, if that’s what it takes to get these kids on the athletic field and courts then that’s what it’s going to take.”