LOGAN — The Logan County Board of Education held a series of meetings to discuss re-entry plans for the upcoming school year, resulting in the acceptance of a plan.
At a special session meeting July 23, the board voted unanimously to accept a blended learning model re-entry plan for the 2020-2021 school year. The plan will consist of students spending two days of the school week in person and three days learning virtually at home.
The students will be split alphabetically, with half attending school in person on Monday and Tuesday and half on Thursday and Friday. Schools will work with parents to get siblings on the same schedule, even if the siblings have different last names. Students will also be able to opt-in to full time virtual learning.
The board held a prior meeting on Tuesday, July 21, which was attended by Logan County Health Department Director Steve Browning. Browning discussed protocols in place for if students or school staff were to test positive for COVID-19 during the school year.
“We are still under the guidance of the state of West Virginia and our local health department to help us make a decision,” Logan County Board of Education President Jeremy Farley said. “At any time, the governor could give a mandate to push back our start date. He could give guidance that changes what we approve as a board.”
The current start date in place for the upcoming school year is Sept. 8. Enrollment dates for online learning will extend two weeks past the start of the semester in case students or parents change their minds about returning to in-person schooling. Students will be able to switch from the blended learning model to the virtual learning model and vice versa at the end of each semester.
Students in grades 3 through 12 will be required to wear face coverings when outside of their core groups. Masks and face shields will both be accepted. Schools will be providing facemasks to each student, but students are also free to bring their own.
“We have bids out for masks and gloves and nurse’s gowns and face shields and some partitions,” said Cathy Adkins, attendance director for Logan County Schools. “We have a lot of cleaning supplies already on hand which will be distributed out to schools as soon as they’re back to school. We’ll make sure that they’re adequately supplied.”
School staff will also be required to wear face coverings when within six feet of students. Students in grades pre-K through 2nd will not be required to wear masks. “It is not required by the department, but it is recommended, so we want to recommend it also,” said board member Debbie Mendez.
Students attending the Early College Program at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College will take those classes online through the college as long as they continue virtual learning. CTE students will report to Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center on their assigned days and continuing virtual learning online at home.
The Logan County Board of Education plans to meet again by Tuesday, Oct. 27, to assess the first weeks of school and then decide how to proceed at that point.
“I’ll speak for myself when I say this cannot be the goal,” Farley said. “This has to be the starting point of where we begin to re-enter back into the schools.”