July 8, 2020
Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) released preliminary school re-entry guidance for the 2020-21 school year during the July meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE). The information, housed on the WVDE’s website and in the West Virginia School Re-entry Toolkit, represents the work of the state’s School Re-entry Advisory Council – a partnership between the Office of Governor Jim Justice; the WVDE; the WVBE; public health officials; local and national agencies and organizations; county superintendents; and educators. The information will assist county school systems as they prepare for re-entry on September 8, 2020.
The information offers scenarios and details about face masks, social distancing and other protocols to assist counties as they create re-entry plans. The Toolkit and accompanying website will serve as a resource for educators, families, communities and students.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent national and state emergencies have shed a glaring light on critical issues facing children and families,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Child well-being, equity and access to technology and the achievement gap will be the main focus of our work because they are important aspects of everything we do. Our efforts will continue as we work with our partners and counties to plan and execute a safe and efficient re-entry.”
More than 40 partner organizations vetted, reviewed and provided insight around the focus areas that include: instruction and learning; physical, social-emotional and mental wellness; career technical education (CTE); child nutrition; special education; safe schools and transportation; finance; extracurricular activities/extended activities; and technology.
The WVDE recognizes that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is fluid, and guidance will continuously be updated to ensure it aligns with Governor Justice’s and public health officials’ best practices. At utmost importance for all considerations of re-entry is the safety of West Virginia’s students, teachers and the extended education community.