Mon County schools plan for return to classroom, ask for waiver from state mandate


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Monongalia County Board of Education is changing its return to the classroom plans and asking for a waiver, following Wednesday’s decision by the West Virginia Board of Education that students should go back to school next week.

Thursday, Monongalia County officials announced that the county will resume providing blended, hybrid instruction Thursday, Jan. 21 in response to the mandate handed down by the state.

Blended learning students in Mon County whose last names begin with A-L and who are enrolled in grades K-8 will return to their classrooms Jan. 21. K-8 blended learning students whose last names begin with M-Z will return Friday, Jan. 22. Blended learning students in grades 9-12 also will return and attend according to the K-8 model if Monongalia County’s COVID incidence rate is designated as “orange” or better.

Following extensive deliberation during its regular Jan. 13 meeting, the Mon County board had agreed unanimously to maintain distance learning for all students through Feb. 12. However, the state board’s directive supersedes the local boards’ decisions, officials said.

Thursday, Mon County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eddie Campbell e-mailed a request for a waiver to the state’s directive to State Superintendent Clayton Burch.

“We had based our Feb. 16 return-to-classroom decision on several factors,” Dr. Campbell said. “We anticipate that most of our 50 or older staff will have received their second COVID inoculations by that date. We also would have had time to accurately gauge the impact of WVU’s Jan. 19 return to in-class instruction on the county’s COVID incidence by that time. But the primary rationales supporting our continuing distance learning were a desire to ensure consistency in student instruction and to allow our blended learning students’ families time to prepare for the shift back to the hybrid model.”

Parents whose students previously doing blended-learning can continue distance learning rather than return to the classroom, Campbell said. Parents who want to make that change as asked to notify their children’s principal as soon as possible.

Also on Thursday, the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers announced that it would be filing an injunction against the state board’s decision.

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