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W.Va. State Superintendent discusses school reopening plans

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 9:06 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - It’s all about numbers when it comes to going back-to-school in person in West Virginia.

That's was the word Wednesday from West Virginia State Superintendent Clayton Burch who joined us on First at Five.

Superintendent Burch says that West Virginia students could see a scenario where students in some counties are able to attend class in person on the target date of September 8, and others will have to start with virtual or remote learning as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

It will all depend on the number of positive COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, West Virginia saw an increase of 255 cases.

Burch said that individual counties are looking at whether or not students will be provided with devices like laptops and computers for remote learning.

“Well it is ultimately a county decision but I’ll tell you we have about $94m total in CARES funding, we have seen about 60 percent of that right now being budgeted whether for internet access or devices, so many counties are making that shift, they have been making that shift. I think we’re going to see an increase in that.”

When it comes to remote or virtual learning, there is a learning curve not just for students and parents but for teachers. Burch says thousands of West Virginia teachers will be training August 3-7 when it comes to best practices for virtual learning.

Burch also says that an alert system is potentially in the works with the West Virginia DHHR to show where COVID-19 cases are to help administrators and state leaders make the best decisions to keep students safe and healthy.

Burch also talked about working and meeting with the unions that represent teachers, faculty, staff, and service personnel about a return to school plan. In addition, he talked about what is being done to work with those employees who are members of the state’s vulnerable population and are concerned about going back to work.

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