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Cabell County School board votes on reentry plan

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 8:05 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - At a special meeting Tuesday night, the Cabell County school board voted to wait to return to five days of in-person instruction until all school employees who want the COVID-19 vaccine can get both doses, and it has enough time to take effect.

Superintendent Ryan Saxe says that there is no timeline on when all the staff who want vaccinations will have the opportunity.

Beginning Jan. 20, schools will be operating on a new blended model.

Students with last names beginning with A through K and L through Z will alternate weekly going three days in person and doing remote learning two days a week.

School board president Mary Neely said safety has to be a priority.

Before the vote, dozens of parents and teachers on different sides of the issue addressed the board.

Parents said they feel like their kids need to be back five days a week because they’re struggling with remote learning.

“You can’t teach a first grader hardly anything via a teams meeting,” parent Jamie Christian said. “My child is disengaged and uninterested. They lack the attention to sit there that long.”

Teachers said they don’t feel it’s safe returning when the case numbers are so high, and they haven’t been properly vaccinated.

“If we’re not social distancing properly, these children can still get the disease, and they’re often asymptomatic, and they can still take it home,” Cabell Midland teacher Amanda Vaughan said.

Cabell County had been preparing to return to five days a week of in-person classes, but Superintendent Ryan Saxe says they listened to concerns about safety.

“These are difficult decisions in difficult times,” Saxe said. “In this situation, we are able to maximize as much face-to-face as possible while also being able to provide as much support as possible. The good thing is there is an end in sight, and that’s the vaccine.”

Saxe says they’re expecting to give out 500 more COVID-19 vaccines to school staff Thursday. About 400 vaccine doses were administered to school staff last week.

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