UPDATE: Mon. County BOE votes to begin hybrid model of learning

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UPDATE (1/19/21):

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – According to the Monongalia County Education Association – WVEA, the Board of Education in an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening, voted four to one (4-1) to begin a hybrid learning model starting Thursday, January 21.

Officials explained that this will align with the West Virginia Board of Education’s mandated policy.

Distance learning will still be an option at this time for parents who feel that it is safer to keep their students at home.

Additional information will be available on the Monongalia County Board of Education’s website in the near future as well as updated on this story as it becomes available.


ORIGINAL STORY (1/19/21):

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Monongalia County Board of Education (BOE) is set to meet on the evening of Tuesday, January 19, to discuss whether or not to approve the new blended learning schedule.

Originally, the county wanted students to remain virtual and return to class on Feb. 12, but then Gov. Justice issued an executive order, making that plan infeasible. Dr. Eddie Campbell, superintendent of county schools, said he doesn’t see transitioning to an earlier start date as being problematic because the schools are ready. He said he personally wants to see students back in the classroom because they are “suffering.”

Dr. Campbell

They are suffering emotionally, physically and that’s not even to take into consideration what the sole purpose of school is, which is academics. We are seeing kids suffer across the board because they have been out of school for so long. This is — it’s been a tragedy, what our kids have had to go through. And to be able to get our kids back to school in some capacity and to work towards getting them back to a normal environment that they can thrive in is something that we’ve all been looking forward to. We’re excited to have our kids back, but we’re excited because it’s the best thing for our kids.

Dr. Eddie Campbell – Superintendent Monongalia Co. Schools

One of the many reasons Campbell is confident about students returning to classrooms is because roughly half of all school employees have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. That comes out to about 750-800 employees thus far, including a significant majority of staff 50 and older.

The plan was for the school system to receive more vaccines this week but that isn’t the case. The superintendent admits that not receiving more doses this week is “concerning” and “disconcerting” to him after having a great back to back weeks of vaccine rollout for school employees.

Exterior of Morgantown HS, one of the many schools in the county

“We have been told that we should — should — be receiving more vaccines next week,” Campbell said. “That has not been confirmed at this point, but what we’re told is that we should be back on schedule for that. That should allow us to pick things back up. It essentially puts us a week behind where we anticipated we were going to be, so if indeed we get the vaccine like we were told we will, we will get back on schedule and pick things up where we left off.”

As mentioned earlier, roughly 800 employees have been vaccinated. That is out of roughly 1,500 full-time employees and 100 part-time employees who Campbell wishes to have inoculated. The hope is the county can put the pandemic behind it and get back to teaching children in-person full-time.

However, the superintendent said he recognizes that things could change and there are a lot of obstacles to overcome until that point.

“We’re just working through things as they get thrown in front of us,” Campbell said.

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