As we quickly approach the beginning of a new school year I want to take the opportunity to give updates items of immediate interest.  The first is the availability of free and reduced priced meals through our food service program. 
The Office of Child Nutrition for Mineral County Schools recently mailed applications for free and reduced-price meals (breakfast and lunch) to all households in the county that have children currently enrolled in school.  The purpose of mailing these forms early was to beat the rush of normal school forms that need to be completed during the opening week of school.  It is hoped that families will complete the forms early and return them to Becky Schneider, Child Nutrition Office, One Baker Place, Keyser, WV, before the beginning of school so the forms will not get lost or misplaced.  Pre-addressed envelopes are being provided for the convenience of the parents.  If you do not receive a form, please contact the Child Nutrition Office, 304-788-4200, ext. 112, so one can be mailed to you.
If there are several children in the household, only one form needs to be completed, with a list of the people in the household.  Once the form is received and entered at the county nutrition office, a notice will be sent to the household regarding the status of the completed application (free, reduced, denied).  If a letter is not received from the county office by the first day of school, August 19, 2010, then the application is not on file and the county nutrition office should be called.
Application forms will also be sent home with children at the beginning of school.  However, if the form has already been completed and a letter received from the nutrition office regarding the status of the form, then the second form may be discarded.  If your financial situation changes at anytime throughout the year, parents may submit another application to the child nutrition office.  Applications will be available at each school or the county office throughout the year.  
It is also important to note that if a family is receiving assistance from the Department of Health and human Resources (DHHR) there is no need to complete the application.  There is a “direct certification” procedure between DHHR and the county boards of education.  Again, if there is a question, please do not hesitate to call Mrs. Schneider.
If a child received free or reduced meals last year, this will continue until September 30 of this year.  However, after that date the new payment status becomes effective.  If the child nutrition office has not received a new form within that time, the child will be charged the full price for meals beginning October 1, 2010.
Mineral County Schools does encourage all parents to submit an application if they feel they may qualify for free or reduced price meals for their children.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact the school nutrition office at the above number or the Superintendent’s office at 304-788-4200, ext. 113
    The second item is to announce the continuation of the student accident insurance program provided by the Board of Education.  An informational letter with an explanation of benefits attached will be sent home the first week of school.  This policy covers all students enrolled in Mineral County Schools while at school or participating in school activities.  Furthermore, each student who participates in WVSSAC sanctioned athletic events is provided additional coverage.  This insurance is provided free of cost through the school levy.
    Each year Mineral County Schools transports approximately 4300 students each day to and from school.  For the upcoming year most bus routes remain the same.   Changes to bus routes will be announced during the time period of August 16-18.  Transportation Director John Haines has announced his retirement effective the end of August but is working closely with the new Director of Support Services, Greg Phillips, and Assistant Director of Support Services, Kenny Baker, to ensure a smooth transition.  Questions about school attendance zones may be addressed to the transportation department, 304-788-4210, or the superintendent’s office.
    Parents who have children enrolling in Mineral County schools for the first time are encouraged to contact the school in the respective attendance zone to make arrangements for a time to complete the enrollment process.  Principals and/or secretaries are in the schools effective Monday, August 9.  New enrollees must have a certified birth certificate, immunization records, and any records from previously attended schools.  Students enrolling in a school in West Virginia for the first time must also have received a tuberculin skin test prior to attending.  Questions regarding school entrance requirements can be answered by David Albani, 304.788.4200, ext. 123; Linda Miltenberger, 304.788.4200, ext. 130; or Linda Marsh, 304.788.4218, ext. 312.
    Reminder:  The first day of school for students in grades 1-12 is August 19; for kindergarten students-August 24 (Home visits will be conducted August 19, 20, and 23); the first day for pre-kindergarten-August 30 (Home visits will be conducted August 19, 20, 23, 24, and 25--- The orientation days are scheduled for August 26 and 27).