Education

Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools Bondy Shay Gibson speaks with board members and the community over Zoom in a special meeting about reopening on Monday, July 13, 2020.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last week, Gov. Jim Justice ordered all public schools in West Virginia open for the 2020-2021 school year beginning Sept. 8. Schools must provide 180 instructional days and must have a five-day school week.

Of course, this could all change depending on how the coronavirus pandemic evolves. But county school boards are starting to prepare for that date and discuss how a return to school in a pandemic would look.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore the question on many minds: what will happen with school this fall? West Virginia Public Broadcasting is asking questions and reflecting on student experiences this past spring.

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from a pediatrician who weighs in on whether children should return to public school in the fall. Also, in this show, we hear an excerpt from the latest episode of Us & Them about the challenges of receiving mental health care during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Gov. Jim Justice says his administration expects to reopen West Virginia schools later than usual this fall because of the coronavirus. That announcement comes despite the Trump administration pushing states to reopen schools as soon as possible.

Courtesy Photo / Marshall University

Updated Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 2:45 p.m.

The Marshall University Board of Governors voted unanimously Tuesday to remove the name of a slaveholder and Confederate soldier from the building that houses the university’s education program. The name change comes as other markers and monuments honoring the Confederacy have been removed by choice or by force across the nation. 

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools," Trump said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon at the White House.

West Virginia State University

The West Virginia State University Board of Governors announced on Thursday it has chosen Nicole Pride to become the 12th president of the University.

Pride is the vice provost for academic strategy and operations at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, according to a news release on the appointment. She has also served as a member of the chancellor’s executive cabinet, the university’s chief of staff and its chief communications officer.

Jesse Wright / WVPB

In 2018, when Mirta Martin became president of Fairmont State University, she never imagined leading a school that was already in a dire financial state because of a pandemic. But because of measures she took upon taking the job, she doesn’t have to raise tuition in the face of the coronavirus.

West Virginia Department of Education

 West Virginia Department of Education Associate Superintendent Kathy D’Antoni is retiring.

The department announced her retirement Wednesday. D'Antoni spent her entire career serving students, including a decade in leadership roles with the department.

In a new rule announced Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos signaled she is standing firm on her intention to reroute millions of dollars in coronavirus aid money to K-12 private school students. The CARES Act rescue package included more than $13 billion to help public schools cover pandemic-related costs.

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During the coronavirus pandemic, both fathers and mothers stepped up to help more with childcare. However, overall, mothers still continue to do 15 hours more housework and childcare. That’s according to a recent survey by Boston Consulting Group, which asked parents in the United States and Europe how the pandemic has affected how they balance work and family responsibilities. 


Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

A private college in West Virginia said Wednesday it is removing the name of the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd from its health center, saying his name had caused “divisiveness and pain”without explicitly noting his complicated past on racial matters. 

How One Old Ohio Valley Farm Is Embracing New Farming Techniques

Jun 17, 2020
Jenn Jensen / Grow Ohio Valley

According to Columbia University—a symbiotic relationship between communities and local farms will effectively ensure a more sustainable future for people. Through developing sustainable agricultural practices, many farmers and communities are working together to grow and consume nutritionally-dense food, including Drew Manko of The Ross Family Farm.


On this West Virginia Morning, we continue to hear from and about the youth in our region. In this show, we hear the perspective of a young farmer, and we also hear from one of our first place winners in this year’s West Virginia Public Broadcasting Writers Contest.

Martinsburg High School Principal Trent Sherman reaches out to shake hands with a graduating senior on May 26, 2020 during Martinsburg High School’s drive-through graduation. Sherman did not wear gloves or a mask during the event.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


High schools throughout the United States and in West Virginia have had to reimagine graduation for the Class of 2020. Many have already had drive-through, or drive by, graduations, some have done virtual ones, and others hold out hope to also have some sort of traditional ceremony later this summer.

Johnathon Burkhart / Wheeling Nailers

If you went to a hockey game in the Nail City during 2019, there’s a good chance you saw defenseman Aaron Titcomb on the ice. Titcomb played for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.


Ohio Valley Artists Share Insight: Find Your People

Jun 14, 2020
Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In a Yurt overlooking the city of Wheeling, traditional Japanese painter Hiromi Katayama showcased her portfolio book containing photographs of a vibrant spread of enormous floral paintings she’s made to a group of Ohio County School students. Some pieces spanned across twenty feet of folding screens, which left students in awe.


Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia is one of the few states where the population is dropping and life expectancy is among the lowest in the country.  Communities are shrinking, aging, and experiencing some of the highest opioid overdose rates in the country. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, one of every four kids in West Virginia has experienced two or more adverse childhood experiences — a rate almost 20 percent higher than the national average. West Virginia Public Broadcasting has engaged with organizations in the Northern Panhandle region with an eye toward addressing these disparities.


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. 

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin hosted a virtual listening session Friday evening with Reverend Ronald English and other black faith leaders from across West Virginia. It was the first of a planned series of discussions called From Hurt to Healing.


Photo Provided / Grow Ohio Valley

Organizations in Ohio County have come together to address community needs during this pandemic. In a bid to lift each other up, local restaurants and farmers are teaming up to help feed kids.


Forced Apart: Same Pandemic, Unequal Education

May 28, 2020
Lalena Price

West Virginia’s 2020 school year, from kindergarten through college, is wrapping up unlike any other.  In recent years, Mountain State communities have been devastated by man-made crises and natural disasters, but nothing has affected the state’s education system like a world-wide pandemic.

On this West Virginia Morning, the coronavirus has put thousands of West Virginians out of work, but for many navigating the unemployment system has been challenging. We hear a conversation with WorkForce West Virginia, the agency administering unemployment benefits, on how they’re adapting in this unprecedented time. And we hear from one West Virginia teacher on how she is navigating distanced teaching.

Four out of 10 of the poorest U.S. students are accessing remote learning as little as once a week or less, according to a new survey from ParentsTogether, an advocacy group. By contrast, for families making more than $100,000 a year, 83% of kids are doing distance learning every day, with the majority engaged over two hours a day, the survey found.

Jesse Wright / WVPB

With kids cooped up inside their homes and classroom instruction happening remotely, we thought it would be a great time to take another listen to an episode of Inside Appalachia that originally aired in 2019. We explore the power of getting children outside to learn, a topic that’s perhaps even  more important now than ever. 

Provided by the Uppercue Family

The front porch is well known across much of Appalachia as a gathering place for conversation and sharing. During the coronavirus, those front porches have become a lifeline, for some -- in more ways than one. 

For YES! Magazine, in partnership with 100 Days in Appalachia, reporter Alison Stine explored how the ethos of the front porch as a connection point is being used to help keep students and families fed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She spoke with West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Brittany Patterson. Here’s an excerpt of their conversation.

 


Woodburn Hall
West Virginia University

West Virginia University is furloughing around 875 staffers due to a possible $40 million loss from the coronavirus pandemic, the college said Friday.

The Front Porch Network Is A Lifeline In Appalachia

May 8, 2020
Brian Ferguson / 100 Days in Appalachia

A traditional gathering place where the public meets the private becomes the critical point of contact for Appalachian families.

On any day in Appalachia, you can find gifts in front of houses, left on porches for the people inside: mushrooms just foraged, cookies freshly baked. The porch is an extension of the home in Appalachia—not only a gathering spot for conversation, but a traditional sharing place. If you want to exchange tools, plants, or hand-me-downs with your neighbor: you put them on the porch. In times of struggle, porches are the vessel to deliver food: frozen meals to new parents, casseroles for grieving families.

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Schools across West Virginia are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and according to the state Board Of Education, all 55 counties in West Virginia have organized feeding programs to provide meals for their students. 

Each county has its own system for getting meals to its students. Sometimes that means delivering a weeks’ worth of meals all in one day, but in Cabell County, school bus drivers are making those deliveries every day. 


Kay Dartt, 3D fabrication manager, and Chase Molden, theater technical director, show the West Virginia National Guard how to cast an N95 respirator mask using silicone molds. The design comes from a 3D printed model developed by Dartt and Molden.
Shepherd University


As the coronavirus continues to spread in West Virginia, the need for personal protective equipment, or PPE, has increased as well. But more than two dozen organizations across West Virginia are working to provide this critical equipment to frontline workers.

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