Northern school systems make adjustments as classes go fully in-person

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Education has mandated all elementary and middle schools have five days of in-person instruction starting next week, but one school system in north-central West Virginia has already resumed such schedule while another area school system is preparing for the change.

The board voted Tuesday to mandate in-person learning starting March 3. High schools will have in-person lessons as long as their county is not red on the state Department of Health and Human Resources county alert system map.

Preston County Schools has already been having a full week of face-to-face instruction. Superintendent Steve Wotring said the school system has adjusted its schedule because of limited classroom exposure; Fridays are dedicated to working with virtual courses.

“Tutoring, on-on-one work we need to do with children, reaching out to families and making sure our virtual students are staying where they need to be,” he described.

In Harrison County, Superintendent Dora Stutler told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM officials were ready to make the call last week.

“I spoke with our health department, and he felt it would be safe for us to return on a five-day-a-week schedule,” she said.

Stutler said all Harrison County Schools employees older than 40 years old have received doses of the coronavirus vaccine if they requested such.

“Over 1,500 employees, we have 800 that have been vaccinated,” she said. ” We’ve got one group of 100 that will get the second vaccine this Thursday, and that will be our last clinic.”

Stutler noted the return to five days of in-person instruction requires special planning; social distancing will be enforced and plexiglass dividers are being installed.

“We would have not considered in-person if we didn’t feel and if the health department thought it wasn’t safe to return,” she said. “It’s just better for students to be in-person socially, emotionally and academically. It’s just a better situation for our students.”

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