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COVID Cases, Quarantines Continue in Ohio County Schools

Photo by Joselyn King – Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller, left, speaks to a staff member online while she and Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones await the start of Monday night’s board of education meeting.

WHEELING — Plans for education — both in-school and online — continue in Ohio County Schools as the district grapples with COVID-19 cases.

Superintendent Kim Miller told board of education members Monday night a total of 121 students in the school district have had to be quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure, with eight testing positive for the virus. In addition, 50 staff members have been quarantined, according to Miller. Seven of these employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Teachers are maintaining seating charts and changing them to maintain a 6-foot distance as much as possible,” Miller said.

Students at Wheeling Park High School, meanwhile, have been learning remotely since Oct. 19, when the school was closed due to COVID cases.

Miller said a decision would be made sometime today on whether the high school will reopen to in-person learning on Thursday. At present, all students in Ohio County other than those at WPHS are attending in-person classes four days a week, with school buildings closed on Wednesdays for cleaning.

Technology coordinator Patrick Riddle told the board the district is nearly finished with efforts to make internet connection available to students who have not had it.

Portable MiFi devices have been provided to some families who live in areas where an internet signal is not available, but there are some families who have not accepted the devices, according to Riddle.

Some of these families are expected to have made other arrangements for the internet, while others just have not responded to the offer made by the school district, he said.

Most school facilities also have had Wi-Fi capabilities installed outside so students can come to the parking lot to download lessons.

School board member Molly Aderholt spoke of the importance of students being able to have one-on-one interaction with teachers, and she asked if all would have strong enough connectivity that their teachers could live-stream classes to them.

Riddle said the MiFi devices don’t have that capability, and many other families don’t have internet service that is sufficient for live learning to be possible.

The board next convenes for a work session at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at the board office, 2203 National Road, Wheeling. Its next regular meeting is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 9 at the board office.

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