Coronavirus Updates

WV Catholic Schools back to the classroom for fall

West Virginia

(Getty)

WHEELING, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Catholic Schools is making plans to return to in-person classes in the fall.

West Virginia Catholic Schools Superintendent Mary Ann Deschaine, Ed.S., says they plan to resume classes five days a week while maintaining guidelines and mandates from federal, state and county officials.

“We are working with our principals and pastors to lay out a plan to have their students in school five days a week,” Deschaine said. “As we move forward with these plans we have been and will continue to take exhaustive measures to keep the health and safety of our children and staff a critical priority.”

Some health and safety measures the schools will take in the fall include:

  • detailed instructions on entrance and exit procedures;
  • heightened cleaning measures before, during, and after school;
  • sanitizing of surfaces and materials multiple times a day;
  • temperature checks;
  • masks in designated areas;
  • creative lab and curriculum scheduling to ensure academic benchmarks are met or surpassed;
  • lunch area and times adjusted for a healthy and safe environment;
  • restructuring physical education to focused more about individual wellness/activities;
  • and regulations for choir/band to be in accordance to CDC and Diocesan mandates.

Services provided to the Catholic schools through the county will be based on the individual county school mandates to be announced later this summer, according to officials.

Deschaine says she is confident the Catholic schools are focused and ready to “adapt, instruct, encourage, and challenge our students in the classroom or whenever necessary go to a distance learning situation without hesitation at basically the flip of the switch. That confidence, positive adaptability and flexibility is a huge life lesson for our children.”

She says classrooms in the buildings will look a bit different, as extra furnishings will
be removed in order to afford the children and teachers more square footage for safe
distancing. The Department of Catholic Schools says everyone in the building will be trained on proper CDC cleaning procedures prior to the start of school. Janitorial and maintenance staff will receive individualized training for proper cleaning techniques, how to use required additional sanitizing equipment, and how to recognize potential concerns and the action steps necessary to resolve them.

Officials say students in Kindergarten through 10th grades will be able to take the NWEA assessment before the start of school to identify any areas where a student may need extra help and allow staff develop prescriptive individualized educational plans.

“Our students take the NWEA assessment three times a year to assess progress and identify
academic growth,” Deschaine said. “We don’t rely on a once a year assessment system. So,
this August assessment will highlight what we need to do to have a successful start to our
academic year.”

Guidelines for before and after school care programs are also being developed, so they can be
offered safely for the staff and students. Deschaine says each building will announce its own start date, but all Catholic schools will be in session by August 24th at the latest.

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