Our school boards’ options are limited

In-person classes will be returning to the majority of West Virginia’s schools in the coming week, with the exception of high schools located in counties classified “red” by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

We know there are mixed opinions on whether this is a good thing, as the COVID-19 virus continues to make its way through the state and there is potential for it to spread more once students and teachers are gathered together.

There also is a concern of students falling behind in their education if they remain in a “remote learning” model of classes. Parents and officials throughout the state have pointed to an increasing number of failing grades as evidence.

Both arguments have validity, and we understand all of the concerns. However, the state board of education, in its meeting Wednesday, decided classes will resume in-person Tuesday, and because of the way current state law is laid out, our local school boards have little wiggle room.

Officials in Hancock and Brooke counties have heard comments and concerns from parents, teachers and other residents. They, too, understand, and, we’re sure, have preferences of their own as to how they would like to proceed, but their hands are tied by the state.

They also understand that these decisions could all be undone in a matter of days as the situation with COVID in West Virginia changes.

In the meantime, they are working to offer vaccines to their teachers and staff and make whatever arrangements they can to provide a safe and clean environment for our youth when they return to school.


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