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Education

Acting Superintendent Of W.Va. Schools Now Permanent, Shares Reentry Guidance

W. Clayton Burch, Interim Secretary, West Virginia Department of Commerce.
WV Governor's Office

West Virginia’s Board of Education voted unanimously today to name acting superintendent Clayton Burch as the permanent State Superintendent of Schools. Burch accepted the position for a salary of $230,000 and discussed plans for reopening schools in the fall. 

Burch said the social and emotional wellbeing of students is his top priority as he leads public schools throughout the state. In a press conference, he said he also wants to address resource equity for students including, but not limited to, broadband access. His third priority is to  continue efforts to close the achievement gap.

Burch was temporarily promoted from deputy superintendent in February to replace Steve Paine. He continues the role now as school systems across the country consider the safest way to have classes this fall. He outlined different scenarios that include requiring health screening for kids and establishing cleaning protocols.

Each district has the autonomy to choose how they will reopen for the fall. 

But Burch presented three scenarios schools can consider, saying counties could use the ideas to best meet the needs of their students:

  • Safer at School/Safer at Home - Students will attend school four days with one day of remote learning or some similar configuration determined by the county. On the remote days, the building will be rigorously sanitized. (Preferred elementary school scenario to best meet developmental needs.)

AND/OR

  • Blending Learning Delivery Models - Students may attend schools a limited number of days. Class sizes may be limited and/or creative scheduling implemented to minimize student mobility in the school. All students will be engaged in learning five days a week through a blended learning model.

OR 

  • Full Remote Delivery - If an outbreak occurs and a stay at home order is issued, all students will complete school assignments remotely five days a week. This will require the teacher and students to communicate daily and develop a process for monitoring, reviewing and/or grading of student engagement activities.

The plans allow for new policies such as some grades  attending fewer days of school to allow for social distancing or the option for totally remote learning. 
“For both middle school and high school it gives the district leadership opportunities to look at their class sizes and scheduling and be able to be creative when they try to limit the number of students that are mobile within the school as well as being transported,” Burch said during a press conference.

Burch said resources schools and the public can use to prepare for reentry will be available online, along with the Department of Education’s recommendations. Regularly scheduled press conferences are planned over the next two months in the lead up to the next school year.

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