Superintendent: Return to class going smoothly in Hancock County

NEW CUMBERLAND — Hancock County’s superintendent of schools feels the return to in-person education in the county has been transitioning smoothly after the first few days.

“Thursday and Friday were great,” Superintendent Dawn Petrovich said during Monday night’s county board of education meeting, noting she feels everyone has been able to adapt to the blended schedule. “Students were excited to be back.”

Following a directive from the West Virginia Board of Education, Hancock County opted to use a blended schedule for students, with those whose last names start with A through K attending in-person Mondays and Tuesdays, and L through Z in class Thursday and Friday.

Wednesdays are being used for cleaning and planning.

As Hancock County currently is classified “orange” by the state Department of Health and Human Resources, the county’s high schools also are in-person.

Petrovich said there have been a few cases of students not reporting for class, and officials are working to get in touch with them to explain the schedule and attendance requirements.

“It’s not an option to stay home,” Petrovich said.

School officials have said the goal is to eventually have a return to in-person classes five days a week.

In response to concerns over whether in-person schooling should have resumed prior to all teachers and staff receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Petrovich said, based on current scheduling it could still take until March or April for that to be accomplished.

Petrovich noted the first round of innocuations — for teachers age 50 and up — was given on Jan. 7. Those individuals would be eligible for their second dose on Feb. 4, and then have to wait two weeks. Hancock County Schools has approximately 550 employees, and receiving the vaccine has been voluntary.

She said she has spoken with the principals of the high schools and middle schools, as well as visited some classrooms to see how things are proceeding.

“You can’t stand still. You have to move forward,” she said.

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


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