By Lyra Bordelon
The Greenbrier County Board of Education approved the new school re-entry plan in an emergency meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Following guidelines given by the West Virginia Department of Education, the new schedule relies on the state map and could see more students return for in-person time.
“We dealt with this for over ten months and it’s been a long, hard struggle but I’ll be truthful with you,” said Board of Education President Jeanie Wyatt. “Our board has always considered what we thought was best for our students and our staff. We may not always agree with other things that have been told [to] us, but we do the best with what we are able to do. We do have your best interests at heart. Thank you for being patient with us. We look forward to the days where we can get back to a more normal schedule.”
Beginning January 19:
If the alert map is GREEN, YELLOW, or GOLD:
- Pre-K students four days a week with a 90-minute early dismissal.
- Elementary students will go five days a week with a 90-minute early dismissal for disinfecting and remote learning tasks.
- Middle and High Schools will go at 50 percent capacity (A and B groups) with a 90-minute early out each day to allow for disinfecting and remote learning tasks.
If the WVDHHR Alert map is ORANGE:
- All schools will operate at 50 percent capacity with 90 minutes early out.
- The A and B schedule will be assigned by each school
- Wednesdays will be remote for all.
If the WVDHHR Alert map is RED
- Elementary and Middle schools will operate at 50 percent capacity (A and B Groups)
- Wednesday remote with 90 minute early dismissal
- High schools go fully remote
The map is published each Saturday at 10 a.m. by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
Superintendent Jeff Bryant also addressed remote learning, which will follow the curriculum.
“I know there is some fear, and maybe that’s not a good word but we’ll use it, that we would be eliminating remote learning,” Bryant explained. “Greenbrier County Schools, through the leadership of our board, has done a tremendous job creating and defining, and our teachers have done a great job administering, that remote instruction. Please be assured and reassured that we will continue remote learning. … If you want to do that, you need to contact your school’s principal to have that conversation.I would welcome everyone to come to in-person, as defined by this plan, and also as directed by the West Virginia state school board.”
Wyatt also noted the timeline of this plan is far from certain due to the vaccination schedule – “When the vaccinations are all given to our employees and staff, then we may have to come back and do a re-evaluation of this plan at the time. … We don’t really have a timeframe on that, it’s when our younger teachers, 49 and younger, will be getting their vaccinations. We’re in limbo on that as vaccines come to each county.
Teachers who might contract the virus during the return to school plan should contact the board and Douglas E. Clemons (email@example.com) or David McClure (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“We had a local COVID plan where we helped our teachers with pay during the period they had to quarantine because of a school related incident or they contracted COVID from a school-related incident,” Wyatt said. “Our board has voted, as long as we’re able to, to continue on with that program. Our local board will be trying to help you, you’ll need to [get in touch] with Mr. Clemmons and Ms. McClure as we go through this. We’ll take each case individually.”
Bryant wished for everyone to have a safe return to school.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as they say, this is what we’ve been given,” Bryant said. “We’ve made the very best of it, in the best interests of our students, our families, our teachers, and school staff.”