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Morgantown High teacher speaks of back to school

Virtual options will resemble home -schooling


Trepidatious, too.

Both of the above have never been in the educator-lexicon of Sam Brunett, who has been in front of classrooms for going on 30 years.

After all, this is the time of the year when the art teacher at Morgantown High would normally be looking forward to the start of school.

This is when Brunett, who draws on sources from the Old Masters to Marvel comics for his inspiration, normally begins sketching the coming year head, for life in his classroom that’s really a de facto art studio.

COVID-19, he said, shattered all of the above like a rock through the window in study hall.

When morning bell rings Sept. 8, for the first day of school in Mon,  the proceedings, he said, could make like those melted timepieces lopped over the desk and tree branch in that one Dali painting. 

“It’s gonna be different, that’s for sure,” he said.

Which is why the aforementioned two words keep showing up with their hall passes, he said.

While Mon County Schools has formulated a precise plan for face-to-face learning this fall,  Brunett knows there are still parents out there who may be drawing different circles on the sketchpad.

Parents  could opt altogether to not send their children back into a  building — where a potentially lethal virus may be lurking like a bully on a playground.

West Virginia Virtual School, a component of the state Department of Education, is there for those households, Brunett said.

  Which requires use of the word, “caution.”

The program boasts offerings from agriculture to English honors and back again, he said, but there’s a curricula-caveat.

While a certified teacher (not one from  the faculty of your kid’s school),  will be there online, said educator won’t be there all the time.

“It’s all self-directed,” he said.

“Kids will have to really keep up. There’s no procrastination, and everyone procrastinates. I can tell you that.”

And that teacher, he said, will be doing more facilitating than teaching.

“There’s a difference,” he said. “For parents, this is more like home-schooling.”

 No professional prodding and encouraging, he said. 

In contrast, the remote learning that ensued this past spring when Gov. Jim Justice shuttered every school in the state was directed by classroom teachers whose white boards were replaced by WiFi.

Brunett, who taught himself how to do videos of his own lesson plans over this most recent pandemic spring, wants to be back in front of his classroom, he said.

Except  when he doesn’t.

Which requires use of the word, “trepidation.”

Mon County finished Friday last week with 654 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according the Department of Health and Human Resources.

As of Friday, the DHHR said, 100 people across the Mountain State had died of COVID-19 complications.

“I’m a little scared about going back,” Brunett said.

“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t.”

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