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Hancock County Schools opts for hybrid education model

NEW CUMBERLAND — When Hancock County students return to school on Sept. 8, they will be spending part of their time in the classroom and part of it learning from home.

The Hancock County Board of Education Monday approved a recommendation from Superintendent Dawn Petrovich to begin the school year with a “blended” learning scenario.

Under the plan, students’ attendance for in-person instruction would be done alphabetically, with those whose last names begin with the letters A through K attending Monday and Tuesday, and letters L through Z in class Thursday and Friday.

“We will have half of the students Monday and Tuesday, and the other half Thursday and Friday,” Petrovich said.

The remaining three days would be addressed with remote learning. The school board has approved the purchase of 3,000 iPads to assist with the program.

The school board had been presented with four possible options for re-entry to the school year, with the first option being a five-day-per-week, in-person instruction model.

Option three would have involved full remote learning, with Petrovich previously explaining it would only be initiated under orders from the state.

The fourth option would be for students to enroll in the West Virginia Virtual School Program, which is available for kindergarten through the 12th grade. This option is available for families who do not want their children to receive in-person instruction on a county school campus. Registration for the program is still available.

In the “blended” format, class sizes will be limited, with buildings sanitized regularly. Meals will be provided on campus and through pick-up at pre-selected distribution sites. Bus transportation would involve two students per seat, with face coverings required for those in third through 12th grades, and students would sit together based on their bus stop.

Petrovich said she is meeting with all school principals this week to provide additional details on cleaning procedures and the reopening plan.

School board President Dan Kaser said he wants to make sure the same approach is being taken throughout all of the county’s schools in order to provide a safe environment.

“One of the things we need to stress is consistency,” Kaser said.

Other members of the board noted the importance of communication between the schools, the board office and the community.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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