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West Virginia Board of Education passes motion on in-person instruction

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 3:38 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The West Virginia Board of Education has passed a motion on in-person instruction.

The board introduced the motion Wednesday during a meeting.

The motion is the move to adopt the following parameters for in-person instruction:

  • All Pre-K through 8th grade students would begin in-person instruction on Jan. 19
  • After Jan. 19, full remote learning would not be an option
  • Counties would have the option to do a blended model which would require at least two days of in-person instruction.
  • Pre-K through 8th grade will attend in person regardless of their color code on the County Alert System Map starting Jan. 19.
  • High school students will attend in-person unless their county is red on the DHHR County Alert System Map.

“As a state board of education, our unwavering commitment remains on the assurance that all counties are moving to full in-person instruction for all children,” said WVBE President Miller Hall. “It is our goal to return West Virginia students to in-person learning and reassure our education employees and parents that it is safe to do so.”

“The purpose of this recommendation is not to allow counties to back away from the January 19 return date announced by the governor, but instead to strengthen the education support structure for our students keeping our eye on getting students back in the building as soon as possible,” Hall said. “The academic and extended needs of our students have suffered too much and our schools are the best way to get them back on track.”

The average age of teachers and service personnel for those in Pre-K through 8th grade fall over the age of 50, according to the WV BOE. This is about 17,000 employees.

The Board of Education says their vaccination plan is the most aggressive in the country. It provides another layer of protection for teachers and students.

“We continue to advocate for the return to full, in-person instruction because our children so desperately need to get back to school,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “I respect the ability of local-level decision-making, however, our collective purpose must remain focused to ensure the constitutionally mandated educational goals of quality and equality are achieved.”

“Education is the first priority,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “The parents should reach out to their local boards and let their voices be heard. I know how hard it is on daycare and that kind of stuff. We know how safe it is to go back to school 8th grade and under.”

“Part of student safety, a big part, is having them in person for instruction,” state school board vice president Tom Campbell said. “Particularly during the pandemic, there are huge social, emotional, and even food needs.”

Justice said he is no longer looking at modifying the color code system to expand the orange category and get more high schools out of the red and back open.

There’s no timeline yet on when they expect all teachers who want the COVID-19 vaccine to get it.

To read the full motion, click here.

This is a developing story.

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