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WAYNE — Parents and students hoping to learn in a virtual setting for the 2021-22 school year will be granted that option, according to Superintendent Todd Alexander.

While the details are still being discussed, Alexander said there will be a “skeletal schedule” created to allow students who prospered during virtual learning or have special needs requirements that are better met by virtual learning the opportunity to learn the best way they can.

By allowing students to learn virtually, Alexander said this will allow the district to keep students enrolled in the public school system.

“We’re going to be updating our virtual school policy. There will be a skeletal schedule of virtual classes that are available for students who medically cannot attend in person or if we have parents that absolutely insist,” he said. “The bottom line is we want to hold onto these kids. We don’t want them to go to homeschooling.”

Cabell County recently released guidelines for virtual learning during the 2021-2022 school year, which includes a newly implemented Cabell Virtual Learning Academy.

The Cabell Academy is expected to have two sections designated for K-8 students and high school students separate.

While Alexander said Wayne County will offer the virtual option to students grades 3-12, it is planned to keep PreK-2 students on in-person instruction to ensure social interaction.

“We do think that in grades K, one and two, it’s essential that they’re in class,” Alexander said. “We don’t think that we can offer a proper virtual school option at those grade levels.”

Policies will also be reviewed and possibly altered before students and staff return to school to decide mask-wearing regulations, social distancing guidelines and the implementation or continuation of other safety and sanitary policies.

The Wayne County Board of Education discussed the possibility of having all students 12-and-under wear masks on school property, as well as having all unvaccinated students wear masks.

Alexander acknowledged that only allowing students who have been vaccinated to go mask-free could cause issues because they cannot, with certainty, determine who has received a form of the COVID-19 vaccine and who has not.

Board member Joann Hurley also suggested the new reentry guidelines include certain stipulations in the event COVID-19 cases were to increase again. Alexander said different scenarios will be taken into consideration.

He said he is hopeful the new reentry policy will be ready for the board to review during the July 27 meeting.

In other board business, the following topics were briefly discussed during the meeting:

  • Buffalo Middle School was recognized as a recipient of a Save the Music grant from Gov. Jim Justice’s office. These grants are donated from the Save the Music Foundation and can be donated in the form of instruments, technology, equipment and resources for music teachers.
  • Wayne County Schools are receiving recognition from media outlets and state organizations for the success of their Summer Exploration Camps focused on making up for lost learning time.
  • Murals posted outside of Del. Ric Griffith’s business Griffith & Feil Drug in Kenova are in the process of being removed and discussions are in progress regarding the possibility of moving them to C-K Elementary School.
  • Enrollment drops over the year are leading to consolidating buildings between schools such as bringing the kindergarten class from Buffalo Elementary School into the main building, along with other possible moves throughout the county. More information will be made available as it develops.
  • Wayne High track coach Jeanette Rutherford asked the board to help get rubber soft coating put on the school’s track to help prevent injuries caused by running consistently on hardtop. The board expressed support for the project, and Alexander said they will have to look at funding but believe there will be money available for the project.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 27 and the Board of Education building. Live streams will no longer be available, barring no significant increases in COVID-19 cases in the county.

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