MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After a pandemic shutdown of about eight months, students Mon County will return to classrooms on Thursday. Superintendent Dr. Eddie Campbell announced the plans on WAJR’s Talk of the Town this morning after a surprise move to green status on the statewide color coded map Saturday.
Mon 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, Mon County entered yellow on the statewide map.
On Friday, Dr. 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,” Dr. Campbell said,”I was really shocked when I saw the map pop up and we were green.”
State superintendent, Clayton Burch is thankful for the changes, but he is urging 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.”
Thursday blended learning, which means fifty percent or less of the students body in buildings will begin. Campbell 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,” Dr. Campbell said,”But, with the drastic change we’ve had in the last week, we just want to study that a little bit.”
The blended learning model brings about 50 percent of the students to builds every other day. For teachers, they 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,” Dr. 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 Mon 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.”
Due to the physical nature of football, players will be offered more time to prepare for competition.