No one knows if year will start in classrooms or at students’ homes
KINGWOOD — The Preston County Board of Education approved the 2020-21 school calendar Monday, though Superintendent Steve Wotring said no one knows if the new year will begin in physical or virtual classrooms.
Either way, he noted, the calendar must be submitted to the state by May 1 and must include 180 instructional days.
The latter means the year can’t begin after Labor Day and end before Memorial Day, as some of the 111 people who commented on the proposed calendar requested, he said.
“Labor Day is Sept. 7, and I can’t lose that whole first week of September,” Wotring told the board.
State law requires schools to close for election days and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Wotring noted, though some who commented oppose this.
The calendar does accommodate another request made by multiple people, that professional development days be held on days when parents might be off from work. So in October the day will be on Columbus Day, and in February 2021 on President’s Day.
School will start Aug. 20, which will avoid conflicts with the State Fair of West Virginia, where some Preston County students enter competitions. School could end May 27, if there aren’t too many unexpected days off, such as those caused by snow, or go as late as June 30.
The meeting was held through freeconferencecall.com because of the governor’s order that people observe social distancing to help stave off COVID-19.
The county continues to provide meals, a week at a time, to students whose families sign up on the county web site or call 304-329-0580, Ext. 222 or 225.
Last week, 23,000 meals were delivered by school bus to locations around the county. The USDA reimburses the county for meals. About 2,500 meals are served each day, so funding for that is nearly on target, Wotring said.
Board President Jack Keim asked if other expenses are down. Wotring said utility bills should decrease considerably next month. Costs for substitute teachers should also be down, the superintendent said.
However, two years from now, when the county receives its state funding for transportation, that amount will be lower, Wotring predicted, because it will be based on miles traveled by buses this year.
The board’s next meeting will be 8 a.m. April 21, to set the levy for taxes. The next regular meeting will be 5 p.m. April 27.