West Virginia took another step towards regaining a level of normalcy, yesterday, Tuesday. September 8.
School buses and children totting backpacks could once again be seen around the area, as schools across the state began the 2020/21 school year. This marks the first time students have been able to return to their schools since being closed due to public health concerns back in March.
To help students and parents re-acclimate, Greenbrier County schools are beginning the academic year with a staggered starting-schedule. Opening-day welcomed elementary students in grades 1 and 5, middle-school students in grade 6 and high-schoolers entering grade 9. Wednesday, September 9 is the first day for grades 4, 6 and 10, while Thursday, September 10 starts the year for youngsters beginning grades 3, 7 and 11. Rounding out opening-week on Friday, September 11 will be grades 2, 8 and 12.
Looking ahead to the week beginning on Monday, September 14, elementary students will report on all 5 days. Middle and high-schoolers in Group A will report on Monday, September 14, while their counterparts in Group B will report on Tuesday, 9/15. Tuesday, September 15 also marks the first day of kindergarten, and Thursday, September 17 is the first day of school for preschoolers.
Greenbrier County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Bryant took a moment to speak with the WV Daily News on Tuesday.
“I’ve called all 13 schools, and spoken to all of our principals. It’s a wonderful day to have kids back in school,” Bryant said. “We’re inspired…all of us. Our children are priceless. That’s why we’re here.”
The Superintendent made it clear how proud he is of the job the schools have done to be ready to reopen, stating, “Our staff, teachers and principals do a fantastic job.”
Monroe County students also began their academic-year today, albeit in a way very different than in previous years. Due to the county’s current orange-status, all students are beginning remotely. An orange designation does permit schools to move forward with in-person learning. However, Monroe County only moved from red to orange this past Saturday.
“As you know, we are starting remotely. This is something our teachers and staff have been preparing for since last Spring,” Monroe County Superintendent of Schools Joetta Basile said. “They (teachers and staff) are rockstars. They’ve been reaching out to our students to make sure they’re prepared.”
In a final expression of her confidence about the school year, the Superintendent said, “We’re ready.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation for all county schools remains fluid. The West Virginia State Board of Education updates the county color-coded map at 9 p.m. each Saturday.