Kanawha County schools head back to class


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It’s the start of back-to-school season, and today, Kanawha County was the first in line with students returning to the classroom.

“It’s going to be super fun! New young teachers, it’s so exciting,” said Presley Kirk, a third-grader at Montrose Elementary School.

Students at Montrose Elementary School jammed out Monday morning, ready to rock a fresh new school year.

“I think we have full classrooms. We had personnel at the door checking in and it looked like we had everyone here today. That just shows everyone is excited to be back and ready,” said Kristi Walter, Principal at Montrose Elementary School.

Despite rising COVID-19 cases in children, all West Virginia schools are able to return to in-person learning this school year. But both parents and teachers say safety is the number one goal.

“Coming back with everything going on with covid and the rise of cases going on…you have a little more of an elevated awareness again,” said Jennifer Anderson, a parent at Montrose Elementary School.

This is a big change from last year’s blended model that left many families contasntly wondering if learning would be virtual or in-person.

“My son is in third grade. I think sometimes for him it’s hard to remember what life was like before COVID,” said Anderson.

And students are excited to get back into the classroom and make new friends.

“Yeah and I get to see my friend I haven’t seen in a year,” said Kirk.

There are some new rules from the state and county school boards this year. With no state-mandated mask requirement, Kanawha County Schools did decide to require masks for students and staff members in Pre-K through 5th grade.

“Making it a back-to-school wardrobe kind of made them excited and they were okay to wear the masks,” said Anderson.

“A lot of the kids had experience with them last year, but honestly we don’t see a lot of issues with it at all,” said Walter.

Kanawha County students in middle and high school still have the option to wear masks while in class. Virtual learning is still an option for 6th and 12th graders.

“I think our staff has all the necessary precautions and things in place to make things run smoothly and as things arise teachers and kids are resilient and I know the students and staff will do their best,” said Walter.

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