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School districts await Saturday night school start decision

Published: Sep. 5, 2020 at 9:02 AM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - School districts across West Virginia have been working all summer to get buildings ready for students to return next week.

But parents and teachers alike are anxiously awaiting for state maps to be updated Saturday night, letting families know whether students will go back in-person or virtually.

In Wayne County, Superintendent Todd Alexander says the district is ready to return, but like the rest of the Mountain state will wait to see where they’re COVID-19 case count lands them on the state metric system.

“Unfortunately our numbers right now would indicate that there’s a possibility that at 9:00 Saturday they’re going to announce that we’re in orange which would mean that we would have to begin with remote learning on September 8th,” said Alexander.

Months of plans could be put to the test for area teachers or they might have to put their pencils down.

Saturday nights announcement will determine whether or not the districts can meet for in-person instruction on the first day of school, September 8th.

The process would repeat weekly, every Saturday night at 9 p.m. to indicate what the following week would look like.

“They’ll be talking about hand washing and walking in the hallway and how we’re lining up six feet apart,” said Diedre Farley, principal at Ceredo-Kenova Elementary.

Administrators have been preparing buildings for months, stocking up on supplies and necessary Personal Protective Equipment.

At Ceredo-Kenova Elementary, they’ve split up the hallways to be one directional including a divider.

Each entrance to the building includes a temperature checking station, where stats will be recorded and visitors will be asked about any symptoms.

Parents can also submit questions or concerns about safety protocols and procedures through the districts website.

“Each child will sit every other desk so a child that comes on Monday/Tuesday will sit at this desk and a then this desk will be for a child that comes on Thursdays and Fridays,” said Lesley Shumaker, first grade teacher.

The schools calendar days may be numbered and now the countdown is on to see whether or not classes will have to begin virtually at first.

“We anticipate that we’re going to be on a remote schedule, that at some point we’ll be able to get back to blended instruction and then at some point we’ll hopefully be able to get back to a traditional five days a week,” said Alexander.

Wayne County Schools were able to secure two masks per student and teacher.

“Communication is always key in a great school year,” said Stacy Morrison, third-grade teacher. “This year is even more important to communicate well between the parents and the teachers.”

Superintendent Alexander says it’s going to take teamwork, cooperation, flexibility and understanding from both teachers, students, parents and administrators.

The state maps are to be updated here.

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