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Marshall County Schools To Resume Five-Day Schedule

MOUNDSVILLE — Students across Marshall County will be returning to a five-day in-person class schedule next week, getting back to a normal schedule after nearly a year.

Students have spent the last year in and out of the classroom, supplementing their in-person days with remote learning days, and spending weeks on end learning remotely when the COVID-19 pandemic was too prevalent to attend class safely.

Yet on Friday, Gov. Jim Justice called for a return to school for students, coinciding with the second dose of vaccine for educators age 50 and older.

This, coupled with the low rate of COVID-19 spread in Marshall County over the last few weeks, led the Marshall County Board of Education to announce Monday that students would resume their normal, five-day-a-week schedule beginning next week.

“We made our decision based on the work that we did with state and local officials, in both the health department and education department,” said Superintendent Shelby Haines. “We have made that decision because we know that kids need to be in school. We average about five to seven cases of COVID each day in Marshall County, so we think we’re ready to move forward.”

Throughout the remainder of this week, students would continue operating at Level 2, or four-day-a-week in-person instruction, with Wednesday reserved for deep cleaning of schools. At Level 1, there will still be a one-hour delay on Wednesdays for teacher professional learning communities, as have been the norm for years.

Elementary and middle school students returned to school weeks ago, while high school students remained remote for some time after, as high school students were to remain remote until the county improved beyond red on the state Department of Health and Human Resources map. That return occurred earlier this month.

Marshall County Health Administrator Tom Cook said there has been a downward trend in new positive cases, but the health department was ready to alert the school district and reintroduce limitations if it became necessary.

“As stuff comes in, we get a hold of the superintendent if there’s (anyone) in the school system, to get that individual pulled out as quickly as we can, to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” Cook said. “Back to school for five days a week is what we’re looking at, a structured instruction for students in their seats, interacting. That’s what schools are meant to be, and that’s where we’re trying to progress right now.”

Haines wanted to reassure families that the facilities would be cleaned throughout the day and after school.

“There are absolutely nerves associated with this; we know there are people nervous about coming to school.” she said “We will continue to ramp up cleaning efforts in the evenings as needed, and all of the administration knows how to get any extra cleaning supplies or (personal protective equipment) that they might need.

“Eighty-three percent of our employees 50 and older have taken advantage of getting the vaccination; 100 percent of the employees 50 and above have been offered the vaccine,” Haines added. “That’s a pretty good rate for us, and we’re ready to try to move forward.”

Haines said that vaccines have been made available for all school employees age 40 and older, and of those remaining, 92 employees have indicated that they wish to get the vaccine but have not yet been able. Those employees have been registered with the state DHHR and will receive the vaccine when it becomes available.

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