Rising case numbers, staff shortages puts Monongalia County Schools on remote schedule

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It appears as though Monongalia County Schools will be going remote with their learning for the rest of 2020.

Eddie Campbell

School Superintendent Eddie Campbell announced Tuesday remote learning would begin Wednesday and continue until after the holiday break. Monongalia County has moved to gold on the COVID-19 map.

“We can look at the trends in Monongalia County and see, that for the most part, we think that we will be at least Orange come Saturday night,” Campbell said. “I didn’t think there was any real purpose in spreading this out through the week.”

This move towards remote learning will be an addition to measures implemented by the Monongalia County Board of Education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally offering blended learning and remote learning options back when the 2020-21 school year began in August, remote learning slowly began to become the more regular fixture as COVID-19 cases rose across West Virginia. According to Campbell, these decisions were always reconsidered, both for better and worse, as the COVID-19 map was updated at the beginning and end’s of the week.

“That gives us the flexibility to wait until Saturday to see what the state education map puts us at, and that would be based on Thursday’s numbers,” he said.

The county is having staffing problems because of the numbers of workers having to quarantine, according to Campbell.

“The issue is that we’re having to quarantine so many staff members because of exposure from folks that are outside the school that have it that we’re having trouble filling those positions,” Campbell said.

“The issue is that we’re having to quarantine so many staff members because of exposure from folks that are outside the school that have it, that we’re having trouble filling those positions,” he said.

In the past seven days, over 1,100 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Monongalia County by the state Department of Health and Human Resources, the majority stemming from travels during the Thanksgiving holiday. With the holiday season in full swing, more cases are expecting to be confirmed instead of the decline that would be needed to move toward a return to blended learning. In the meantime for the Monongalia County BOE, it’s still a play it by ear situation, Campbell said.

“In this particular case, we can project out some of the numbers that we’ve seen from the seven day rolling averages that we’re presented with and we can see that the numbers are going the wrong way, so we’ll monitor that,” said Campbell.

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