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Hancock County opts for blended schedule

NEW CUMBERLAND — Hancock County pupils in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade will return to in-person classes, with a blended schedule, following a decision Friday morning by the county board of education.

The school board met in an emergency session Friday, with participation both in-person and by teleconference, voting 4-1 to accept the recommended plan put forward by Superintendent Dawn Petrovich.

Board President Dan Kaser explained the plan was developed following guidelines from the West Virginia Board of Education.

“They made it clear we don’t have the authority,” Kaser said, noting consequences for not following the state guidance could include a state takeover of the district or legal action. “Our back is against the wall. We must follow state board policy.”

During a meeting of the state school board, Wednesday, officials decided in-person lessons would return across the state Tuesday for all Pre-K through eighth-grade classes.

High schools also could return to in-person classes, unless the counties were classified as “red” by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Petrovich explained, as a result of holidays and previously scheduled planning days, actual classes wouldn’t begin in Hancock County until Thursday. Students whose last names start with A through K will attend Thursday, and those whose names begin with L through Z will be in class Friday.

The following week, beginning Jan. 25, A to K will be at school Mondays and Tuesdays, with L to Z attending Thursday and Friday.

As long as the county remains classified as “red,” Petrovich said, high school students will have classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, meeting through video conferencing.

“Classes will be live every day but Wednesday,” she said. “It will actually mirror their class schedule.”

Petrovich noted attendance will be taken, and students will be engaged in their classes throughout the day.

Information on the plan also will be available on the county board of education’s website, as well as through a message on the “all-call” system.

Petrovich explained while the ultimate goal is to have all students in-person five days a week, neither a schedule nor any guidance for that goal have been set, to date.

“I have not laid that out because it changes so quickly,” Petrovich said.

Meal pickups will still be available on Wednesdays.

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