TAYLOR COUNTY— In March, the outbreak of COVID-19 closed schools throughout the state, forcing students to finish out the remaining 12 weeks of the academic school year virtually.
Although the situation surrounding the virus has changed a good bit since that time, as the purposed August 24 start date for Taylor County students draws near, the Taylor County Board of Education is looking for community input for the development of a re-entry plan that will be specific to Taylor County schools.
Earlier this month, the West Virginia Department of Education released three possible scenarios for the re-entry of schools in the fall of 2020, under the guidance and recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Those scenarios included; operating schools on a four-day week, keeping students in their core groups and eliminating use of common areas, such as cafeterias; a mixture of in-person and virtual learning, where students would only report to their physical classrooms two days a week; or a completely virtual learning experience.
At the release of these scenarios, parents, students, teaching staff, administration and community members began voicing their concerns with the different scenarios, prompting Taylor County Superintendent of Schools, Christy Miller to release a statement on the matter.
In her statement, Miller assured the community that those with concerns would be afforded the opportunity to share and express their thought and opinions.
Miller also noted that the throughout the reentry process, herself and the Taylor County Board of Education would continue to work with and consult with the Grafton-Taylor Health Department, as well as look for guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Department of Education for instruction in the development of a plan that is specific to Taylor County schools.
Since that time, Miller, along with the re-entry task force, has created and released a survey for Taylor County residents.
“Taylor County Schools is offering an opportunity for you to give us guidance as we plan for opening the 2020-2021 school year,” Miller said.
She is urging everyone in the community, whether they are a student, teacher, parent or concerned citizen to participate in the questionnaire.
“We really need and want everyone’s feedback,” she added. “This will allow us to ensure that our plans for the safe return of all students is in place.”
The Taylor County Return To School Survey can be found by visiting the Taylor County Schools, WV Facebook page at, https://www.facebook.com/Taylor-County-Schools-WV-115230926511174, or on the web by visiting, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ReEntrySurvey20
The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and will be available for community participation until 4:00 p.m., on Friday, July 10.
According to Miller, once the survey is closed the results will be tabulated and shared with the Taylor County Board of Education and Re-entry Task Force on Tuesday, July 14. The results will also be posted to the county website, http://taylorcountyboe.net/.
“These results will guide our Taylor County Schools Task Force in finalizing plans to welcome staff and students back in August,” she explained. “There are many decisions to be made and your survey response will ensure we are prepared.”
In addition to the Taylor County specific survey, the West Virginia Department of Education has provided their own statewide surveys.
Their three surveys will be used to gather input about school re-entry efforts, the impact of the school closure, as well as to gauge the needs of students, families and the education community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These surveys can be found by visiting https://wvde.us/. Any questions that may arise about the WVDE surveys may be directed to [email protected].