Students and officials reflect on the first weeks of school

Belpre Elementary
Belpre Elementary(Zach Shrivers)
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 8:19 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - This school year has been a learning experience for students and teachers alike; adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions, learning how to use the new technology which has kept students learning at home, and trying to keep up with day to day changes brought on by the pandemic.

In Belpre, thirty percent of students are learning from home. It’s by choice, as the other seventy percent attend class in-person five days a week.

While staff have had to solve a plethora of problems, from how to have recess safely, to how to feed students learning from home, Superintendent Jeff Greenley says morale is high. The district has only had three people quarantine in roughly seven weeks of school, and all three were reported this week.

“Our kids and faculty have been great about mask wearing. It hasn’t been an issue. We haven’t had to discipline or fight with kids. They have understood that expectation and why it’s important. They are washing their hands and sanitizing. They aren’t going out in large groups or having those kinds of activities on the weekend,” said Greenley.

But these changes aren’t easy for every student to understand, at least at first. On the south side of Parkersburg, soccer player Samantha Martin says she used to reject the enforcement of South’s mask requirement.

“Our new athletic director, at first we thought she was being really mean. And we apologize [now]. She was really on us about wearing the mask and it was so new to us. But, now looking back, we just want to thank her because she was just trying to look out for us and our season,” said Martin.

Students aren’t the only ones who have had to adjust. Parkersburg South High School Principal Betsy Patterson says teachers have had to learn new technologies and how to balance teaching in-person and virtually.

“Trying to incorporate how to use Schoology, [that’s the online piece of it], but then capturing enough class time to do and integrate things that need face to face interaction, whether it be student presentation, classroom experiments, lessons, things of that nature, has presented a challenge,” said Patterson.

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