Mon County Schools prepares families, staff and students for in-person learning

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mon County Board of Education members heard concerns from teachers as the September 8 return date nears. Board of education president, Nancy Walker told members 750 former educators, current teachers, parents and community members signed a petition calling for the first nine weeks to be online followed by a gradual transition to in-person learning.

“Over the past week, Mon County teachers have been struggling to make reopening of school safe in the absence of clear or workable policy,”Walker said,”Many feel their own safety is being disregarded with little direction on ho to interact.”

The petition cites problems with social distancing, enforcing mask policies, potentially large gatherings for lunch or classes. Additionally, concerns are raised about the constantly changing plan and continued roll out of the plan.

Deputy superintendent, Donna Talerico said the results of the survey sent to parents demonstrates most have confidence in the plan to return, only 23 percent have selected distance learning.

“Seventy percent of the community and our families have chosen to return to our blended model of in-person,”Talerico said,”One day in and one day out.”

With 70 percent of students on the blended model officials estimate 30 percent of each building population will be present on a school day. 3

“That’s significantly less than what these teachers have now and it allows all of the protocols to be observed to the letter,”Talerico said,”So, I can’t see any issues with any of them, even in the hallway.”

Since the pandemic, about 150 new students have enrolled to be homeschooled.

Vice president of the board, Ron Lytle is concerned that some students or staff my become complacent and endanger the health of others.

“The teachers that are taking this seriously, the students that are taking this seriously- this could be destroyed by a couple that don’t,”Lytle said,”We need to make sure we’re clear on somebody that doesn’t follow the guidelines, I don’t think they should be allowed ion our schools.”

Talerico assured parents that decisions are made for the next nine weeks, options will not be shuffled during a grading period.

“Dr. Campbell has been clear, we’ve totally been on board with this,”Talerico said,”If we start in orange or red that means we’re remote, and we make the decision for nine weeks, we stay remote we’re not switching back-and-forth.”