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Wirt County Schools sets reopening plans

ELIZABETH — Wirt County Schools released its re-entry plan, which will involve a staggered classroom schedule at first.

Staff will return to work Aug. 24 to prepare for students to start Sept. 8. They will split the students into two groups that will alternate between virtual and classroom learning.

“Students will be assigned to a group based on family groups and common bus stops with the idea being to keep students living in the same household together within the same group,” the plan said.

After the first three weeks, Superintendent John McKnown said if all goes well, they will switch to a blended approach. Students will attend school four days per week with Wednesdays set for virtual learning and more intense cleaning.

“Starting with an abundance of caution, (if) at the end of that three weeks all is well, we are going to move to a blended approach,” McKnown said. “Then we will be six weeks into the school year and if all is going well, (we’ll have a) five-day-a-week instruction.”

The main focus for the school year will be to catch up the students on any material they may have missed out on last spring, McKnown said.

In doing so, they are implementing two online programs that will work to assess the students progress and to provide catered learning content to the students’ needs.

“You night have a student who is behind, it’s going to help them get caught up. On the other hand, you might have a student who is very advanced, it’s going to meet that kid’s needs as well,” McKnown said. “It truly is a good thing for every kid. It meets every kid where they’re at to fill in gaps or move them forward.”

Wirt County schools will work closely with the local health department as they progress so they can adapt their guidelines as the healthcare professionals see fit.

“We miss our kids. We’re looking forward to them returning. We’re going to welcome them with open arms and try to do that in the safest way we can,” McKnown said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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