In-person or Virtual school? County schools release draft plan for September

by KATE EVANS

Morgan County Schools published a draft version of their school reentry plan for reopening last Friday on their website and Facebook page. It includes details about the school day for staff and students along with some information about virtual school.

Click on the link below to read the full plan:

Morgan County Re-entry Plan

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has marked September 8 as the first day of the 2020-2021 school year.

It will be the first time schools have been open to students since Justice closed West Virginia schools on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students across the state continued their lessons through remote learning until the end of last school year.

Reentry options

Families have two school reentry options:

1) in-school-five days a week

2) the Morgan County Virtual Academy, which is fulltime online learning through the Schoology platform with live meeting times determined by teachers.

An additional article in this week’s Morgan Messenger gives extensive information about the Morgan County Virtual Academy. Parents have to register students for the virtual academy by next Monday, August 3.

Full remote learning for all county students would only be resumed if a temporary school closure is mandated by the Governor or the Department of Health and Human Services due to a coronavirus outbreak.

CDC and state guidelines

Guidelines for the Morgan County Schools Reentry Plan came from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), the American Pediatrics Association and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. (WVDHHR) Guidelines are expected to changes as federal and state guidelines change.

Classrooms and spaces will be reorganized to accommodate social distancing and staff will model and teach personal hygiene to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We will urge the use of personal protective equipment. These measures, practiced by everyone, provide the best chance of keeping exposure to a minimum,” School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said in a letter.

Face coverings

Face coverings will be worn by staff and students in Grades 3-12 when social distancing can’t be maintained, in congregate areas with large groups of students, on buses and in the hallways unless a student has a medical waiver, the re-entry plan says.

Prekindergarten to Grade 2 students will not be required to wear face masks.

Pre-K to second grade staff will be required to wear face coverings when social distancing can’t be maintained, in congregate areas with large groups of students, on buses and in the hallways.

One cloth mask will be provided to students and staff at the beginning of the school year. Parents are responsible for supplying cloth face coverings/masks to their children and maintaining mask cleanliness.

Single-use masks will be on hand as a back-up.

Buses, morning routine

Bus routes will be published in The Morgan Messenger.

Family members and bus pick-up groups will sit together. Students must wear face masks before entering the school bus, while on the bus and when exiting the bus.

Bus drivers and transportation aides will wear face masks on the bus when students are present and inside school facilities. Buses will be cleaned before and after runs.

Large gatherings of students will be eliminated and students will report to their classrooms upon arrival at school.

Under the plan, elementary students will stay with their classroom teacher and core group all day. Secondary students will report to their first period classroom. Students will be dismissed from their classrooms at the end of the day.

Under the county’s plan, all students will be screened for illness with screening checklists upon arrival at their classroom.   Any student with exposure to COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms will be sent to a quarantine room to be evaluated by medical personnel.

All parents will be urged to keep contact information updated and have plans to pick-up their child in case they become ill at school.

Meals and visitors

Under the county’s school plan, students will be provided their breakfasts and lunches in classrooms.

School visitors will need to schedule appointments. They will be subject to temperature checks, screening questions and wearing face masks.

No adult will be allowed to visit a school if their temperature is registered at 100 degrees or higher. School visitors will be limited for health and safety.

Desks, spacing

Six feet of space will be marked to remind students and staff of the social distancing needed in lines, restrooms, locker rooms and when congregating in hallways, cafeterias and waiting areas.

Classroom desks and seating will be changed to allow for social distancing.

The reentry plan also includes safe learning practices for all grades and guidelines for handling presumed, suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases, returning to school after COVID-19, symptom checklists, COVID-19 screening protocols for staff and students, school cleaning and hygiene, playground use, water and ventilation systems, food service, transportation and best health practices.

School staff will stress these best health practices:

— maintaining six feet of social distance,

–wearing a face mask or face covering,

–cleaning hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer,

–not sharing pens or writing utensils,

–avoiding touching your face, cough/sneeze into your elbow or sleeve and

–not coming to school if you’re feeling sick.

Subject to adjustments

If circumstances change with COVID-19, these reentry plans will be adjusted with guidance from local and state health officials, said school officials.

Individual schools may need to be temporarily closed or schedules changed. There may need to be a mix of in-school and online learning or even a return to remote learning if mandated, School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said in the reentry document.

Children need to be in school, but this can only happen with safety as the priority, Tuttle stressed. The school system is committed to both charges.

The Morgan County Schools reentry plan was created with feedback from the community, school officials noted.

Any questions or comments about the reentry plan can be emailed to COVID19@morganschools.net.

 

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