Re-entry plan may give teachers a break from double duty
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Recognizing that Mineral County teachers have been burdened with trying to teach both in-person and online classes this year, the re-entry plan currently being considered would eliminate some of that work.
Superintendent of schools Troy Ravenscroft presented his re-entry plan to the Mineral County Board of Education Tuesday. Although the plan was not officially approved, the board generally agreed for Ravenscoft to proceed with fine-tuning and they will vote during their Nov. 4 meeting.
The plan would put the current “blended” students back in class four days a week beginning Nov. 30, if the COVID-19 numbers at that time permit doing so.
For those students whose parents have opted to keep them at home, requests to return to in-person learning will be considered for Nov. 30 but will definitely be an option at the semester break.
With that in mind, the number of virtual students will probably decrease at the beginning of Semester 2, easing some of the burden on the teachers.
The county therefore plans to provide virtual learning for students in grades 5-12 through a third-party source, such as the WV Virtual program, or Odysseyware, rather than the teachers preparing the lessons.
Students in pre-k through fourth grade may still be provided virtual lessons by the local teachers, depending on enrollment numbers.
“If enrollment numbers are not feasible for doing pre-k-4 virtual ‘in-house,’ then it will also be a third party provider,” according to Ravenscroft.
Ravenscroft said the plan is moving in the right direction and he wants students, families and teachers - who have all struggled with the current plan - to know “there is an end in sight as far as the virtual side of things goes.”
Board member Terry Puffinburger noted, however, that some teachers are worried about the plan to bring more students back into the classroom.
“They’re worried about their health. They’ll be going from 12 students in a class to 24,” he said. “If we open up too soon, then we may have to close down.”
Ravenscroft noted that safety requirements will be even more important.
“There will have to be a higher threshhold as far as mask requirements … even down in the lower grades,” he said.