UPDATE (DEC 08, 2020 5:34 p.m.):
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In a message to parents, Monongalia County School Superintendent Dr. Eddie Campbell announced Tuesday that all Monongalia County schools will go to a distance learning model, starting Wednesday, Dec. 9 through the end of the year.
The decision is due to the “continuing spike” in COVID-19 cases in Monongalia County and it affects roughly 11,5000 students, Campbell said. The superintendent said probably the biggest determining factor to the decision has been keeping the schools properly staffed.
We’re just having an awful time right now of just staffing our buildings. And it’s really because of the quarantines that we’re having to implement because of contact tracing with staff members who have been exposed, or who have been identified as positive from the community spread here in Monongalia Co. We have 50 positions today that we did not fill with substitutes. And that’s not 50 absences, that’s 50 absences in addition to the ones that we did fill that we were not able to put a substitute in. That’s really compromising the quality of our in-person instruction and so we made the decision that we’re going to need to shut it down until we can — until we can give the numbers a chance to turn themselves around.Dr. Eddie Campbell – Superintendent
Officials hope to return to the county’s blended learning model in January and officials will make a decision on that after the end of the fall semester, Campbell said. The biggest contributing factor will be how good or bad COVID-19 numbers are in the county.
School staff will continue to report to their respective schools and offices, according to Campbell. He said he hopes parents and students will understand that with cases spiking locally and the inability to have qualified staff in the classroom, this was the best course of action.
“We have to make sure that our buildings are safe, that our kids are being monitored properly, that we’ve got qualified individuals in our classrooms working with our kids and we’re just not able to do that right now,” Campbell said.
Free lunches will be available to all students by curbside pick up through Dec. 21, officials said. To get the meals, parents must register online by 9:00 a.m. each day.