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Marshall County Schools Increase In-Class Days

File photo Marshall County Schools Superintendent Shelby Haines discusses what each level of operation means during a previous board of education meeting.

Students at Marshall County Schools who have been attending in-person schooling two days a week will be doubling that come October.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Shelby Haines announced that schools would be shifting gears from Level 3 — two days of in-person instruction, with three days of remote learning, depending on student last names — to Level 2, which will see all students who are attending in-person instruction on weekdays except for Wednesday, when schools will be cleaned. Students who are currently doing remote learning each day will not be affected. This change will take effect Oct. 5.

The decision to move to Level 2 was made after consultation with county faculty, service personnel, and the health department. Both Haines and health administrator Tom Cook stressed the benefits of in-person learning for students.

“We have been reviewing a lot of research from the (Centers for Disease Control) and the Centers of Pediatrics, and have decided that we need our kids to be in school. The overarching theme of every meeting we have had to reach this decision, and there have been many, is that kids need teachers,” Haines said. “We are going to take every precaution we possibly can — clean, wear masks, do everything we have been doing — but kids need teachers.”

Haines said the overwhelming teacher position was that they wanted their students to be back in classes, though their hopes were tinged with concern over their health.

“There are a lot of nerves over this decision. The overarching theme in any school is that teachers are glad to have their kids back. This is what they went to school to do! But they’re very nervous, about social distancing practices, about mask wearing, and they’re just nervous to get sick.”

Cook said a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Marshall County was not believed to be related to schools. McNinch Primary and Sherrard Middle schools remain closed through Sept. 28 after one employee at each school was found to be positive for COVID-19.

“A lot of our stuff is not associated with schools — they’re associated with things like vacations, social gatherings. We’ve seen stuff like that,” Cook said. “… We have seen increases, but it hasn’t been primarily from schools.

“If we look at research and the science behind everything, we need to get these kids back in their seats. Are there going to be uncertainties? Of course. Are there going to be positives? There will be positives. It’s not … ‘if,’ it’s ‘when’ do we receive a positive.”

Haines said a date for further adjustment to the levels of operation was not set. Wednesday’s announcement had been slated for re-evaluation when the levels of operation were first announced in mid-August.

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