Concerns expressed as “back to school” date looms

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 9:12 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The American Federation of Teachers plans early next week to challenge in court West Virginia’s plan to return students to classrooms beginning Tuesday, January 19.

In a written statement, the AFT said it was concerned about the lack of autonomy for county boards of education to determine for themselves how to re-enter the classroom.

Ritchie County Schools, in line with both the state board of education and the governor’s office, plans a four-day, in-person plan in which the school system will have virtual learning on Wednesdays. Pleasants County told us last week of a similar plan.

But Ritchie County Superintendent Jim Brown admitted to us he and the school system’s board of education are concerned abou their lack of input in implementing their own plan.

“I think we would have rather had a little more autonomy and authority to make decisions that are best to Ritchie County students and our employees,” Brown told us Thursday. “That would have meant we may have gone remotely for a day or two days if the infection rate warranted that. Unfortunately, the executive order and the state board’s directive eliminates the local authority to do that.”

Teacher groups and educators have also argued an in-person plan could have waited until more school employees received COVID-19 vaccinations. The rollout of those shots began last week.

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