Elementary Students to Return to School

    Schools in West Virginia  will resume  Pre-K through 8 classes on January 19.  Whether or not individual county Boards have the leeway to return students to classes on a hybrid schedule or must resume classes five-days-per-week will be decided in a State Board of Education meeting slated for Wednesday.  
   Superintendent Dawn Petrovich announced at a Board of Education meeting Monday night that the local school board’s decision must fall within the guidelines set by  the State Board of Education.  If Hancock County is able to resume on a hybrid model it will follow the same guidelines as before with half the students attending Monday and Tuesday and the other half Thursday and Friday.  Wednesday would be a remote learning day.  If the State Board dictates a five-day-a-week schedule, Hancock County will adhere to that schedule.   January 19 is an in-service day in Hancock County meaning classes will resume January 20.
  Board President Dan Kaser said that while his preference would have been to continue remote learning given aHancock County high COVID transmission rate, there is no authority given by the State for full remote learning.  Options are very limited.  On Monday night, Brooke County Board of Education voted to remain remote through January.
 Hancock County currently is red and has been listed as having one of the highest COVID transmission and death rates in the State.  Board member Michelle Chappell expressed her concern, especially with Weirton Elementary which has the largest enrollment in the State.
 State Board President Miller Hall has indicated that his preference would be to allow the hybrid model of learning until all school personnel had been vaccinated and then return to five-day-a-week classes.
   Petrovich announced  the School system is moving rapidly to vaccinate all employees who want to receive the  vaccine.  The rollout began with 170 teaches, ages 50 plus on Jan. 7 at the Rockefeller Vocational Center and continues Jan. 14 with teachers under 50 to be vaccinated.  School service personnel, head start workers and Board members will receive the vaccine approximately one week later. Surveys have been provided to all employees asking if they wanted the vaccine. The fourth week will include non-teaching coaching personnel and Petrovich said those individuals will be contacted by phone to inquire in they want to receive the vaccine.
Kaser noted the school nurses have done an exceptional job and had even come in on their own time to administer vaccines to the general public over 80 on New Year’s day.
 “When this is all over we need to recognize them.  They have gone above and beyond and the community owes them a debt,” said Kaser
In other business, the Board:

**Learned that Petrovich had began meeting with newly-elected County officials;
**Accepted the resignation of Phil Rujak, teacher at Weir High School;
**Approved Michael Gurskey as a county-wide substitute teacher;
**Accepted coaching resignations for Kip Shenton, Head Girls’ Tennis, Oak Glen High; Michael Moran, Head Cross Country, Oak Glen High; and Timothy Miller, Head Basketball, Weir High;
**Approved the transfer of Jolynn Mark from Secretary III, Weirton Elementary, to Secretary III, Board Office, and Brenda Sayre from Bus Operator #138 to #105;
**Approved the assignment of Cody Hixenbaugh as Custodian II, Allison Elementary;
**Announced the Board will meet again Jan. 25 at 5 p.m.