Public Schools

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.

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, we continue our series on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the state’s youngest residents, including how one county is making sure thousands of students are fed while schools are closed.

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Jefferson County Schools have entered a Stage 3 closure as of Monday, March 23, meaning a total shutdown of school campuses and no staff are to report to work. The county’s superintendent made the announcement on their website last week. 

Courtesy Berkeley County Schools

Schools across West Virginia closed Monday, March 16, for at least two weeks in an effort to help stem the transmission of the coronavirus. 

Since the shutdown was announced, West Virginians around the state have been working to make sure students are fed. According to the West Virginia Department of Education, more than two-thirds  of school-aged children, or more than 183,000, qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we'll hear a harrowing snake story. We’ll also bring you the latest update on the state response to the coronavirus.

Nikki Tundel / Photo of Paul Dorr from APM Reports, a production of Minnesota Public Radio®. © 2018 Minnesota Public Radio®. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Paying taxes is one of those things we just can’t avoid… except for the local tax measures we get to vote on. One of the best examples is school spending. When local school officials ask for additional money for new academic programs or school buildings, taxpayers must approve it. There’s one man who has worked with citizen’s groups in dozens of places to fight against more money for public schools. He’s been successful in many places and his efforts highlight the Us & Them in all of these communities.

Elementary Classroom
Douglaspperkins / Wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia School Building Authority has voted to fund more than $72 million in facilities projects statewide.

Monday's vote includes construction and renovation projects for public school systems in 19 counties.

Teachers and other state workers rally at the Capitol, Mar. 6, 2018.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine told reporters Thursday afternoon that all nine days of the recent teacher and school employee work stoppage would need to be made up by each county school district. However, counties will have control and flexibility on how they do it.

BrokenSphere / wikimedia Commons

About 1,000 iPad tablet computers have not been recovered by a school system in West Virginia over the past three school years.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Kanawha County Board of Education learned Thursday that 1,269 out of just over 15,000 iPads were not recovered. Officials say the county sees about a 2.8 percent annual loss, with the largest source coming from student transfers.

Patricia Rucker
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to prohibit any Common Core-based education standards from being taught in West Virginia classrooms was taken up in the Senate’s Education committee Saturday. The standards have been debated for years at the statehouse and now lawmakers are looking at legislation that specifies what can be taught.

classroom
Arria Belli / Wikimedia Commons

A Nicholas County judge has declined to immediately stop the controversial plan to consolidate five Nicholas County public schools into two schools that share a single campus following a flood last year.

Judge James Rowe on Thursday denied a preliminary injunction that had been requested by supporters of rebuilding Richwood's flood-damaged schools in the Richwood area instead of consolidating them into a single campus near Summersville.

The West Virginia College and Career Ready Standards are being implemented for the first time in West Virginia schools this fall and so is a new system to grade the schools themselves.

Lawmakers were updated about the implementation of both the new standards and the accountability system during an interim meeting at the Capitol Monday. The system measures the performance of individual schools and gives them an A through F grade based on a variety of factors.

Officials say air-conditioning problems closed at least three Kanawha County schools on Friday.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a school where teachers filed a grievance over years of AC problems was among the schools closed.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources urges parents to take action to ensure children have the proper vaccinations before school starts.