Wood County BOE approves calendar, re-entry plan

Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook talks about virtual school enrollment numbers during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. (Photo by Michael Erb)

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education has approved a revised 2020-21 school calendar and draft re-entry plan, but officials caution both may change before classes resume in September.

The board unanimously approved the calendar and plan during Tuesday’s school board meeting. Recent guidance from the West Virginia Department of Education and a directive from Gov. Jim Justice to delay the start of the school year until Sept. 8 forced officials to repeatedly revise plans for fall re-entry.

Hosaflook said officials developed a calendar that is “unique, but will help us do what’s best for all Wood County families.” The school year begins for students Sept. 8 and ends June 4, 2021.

The school board also unanimously approved a draft plan for schools reopening this fall. The plan uses the stoplight system for schools and programs, with green being the same as a normal school year, yellow being a modified schedule with additional precautions in place, and red meaning school buildings will close and remote learning will be in place.

The plan also outlines COVID-19 precautions, such as the use of masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing as recommended by federal, state and local health officials.

But Hosaflook cautioned many things could change before the start of school.

“The big unknown will be what Gov. Justice does,” he said, as the decision on whether to keep schools open or to close them due to health concerns rests primarily with the governor’s office.

Hosaflook said the uncertainty is compounded by multiple groups releasing guidance which both overlaps and contradicts, such as what are considered to be symptoms of COVID-19 and when and where testing takes place.

“We are reshuffling our re-entry plan,” Hosaflook said. “What I gave you last week is not the same as what you have now.”

Hosaflook said that reshuffling likely will continue even as students return to class.

“This plan will change. It is fluid,” he said. “It will continue to change til Sept. 8, probably through the entire school year.”

To help prepare for those possibilities, the school system will have iPad distribution the weekend before the start of school, so if the buildings are shut down prior to Sept. 8, remote learning can still begin.

“If they don’t pick up an iPad (the weekend before the start), we give it to them on the first day of school,” Hosaflook said.

The new calendar, parent calendar and re-entry plan can be found through the district’s web site www.woodcountyschoolswv.com or on the Wood County Schools app.

Contact Michael Erb at merb@newsandsentinel.com.


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