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Mon teachers return to school to prep for class

Monday was first day back since pandemic

After five months of echoing hallways, schools across Monongalia County suddenly got noisy again Monday.

That was when teachers and staffers reported to their buildings, in a mass pre-introduction to an academic year like others.

Mon Schools Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico said she was struck by all the institutional muscle-memory that ensued, no matter the changes.

“It was almost like they were never gone,” Talerico said.

Again, almost.

They had in actuality been absent since that Friday the 13th last March when Gov. Jim Justice said he was shuttering schools due to the pandemic.

Their happy chatter was handled in a  mask-wearing, socially distanced way.

 And others preferred to interact via Zoom, even, while under the same roof.

“Today we started making our first steps to whatever it is that’s going to be ‘normal’ this year,” Talerico said.

“We’re in a situation, that, if it’s not changing weekly, it’s changing daily,” the assistant superintendent continued.

“And if it’s not changing daily, it’s changing hourly.”

Mon Schools last week announced it was going with a staggered, blended learning model for the first nine weeks of school.

Gov. Jim Justice then  debuted a four-color chart to chronicle outbreaks, adapted from the Harvard Global Health Institute Model.

Green is the best designation on that chart, followed by yellow, orange and red — which signifies a school closure and remote learning until your county’s cases go back down.

Mon went into Monday showing yellow. Logan County, in the southern coalfields, charted red.

Look for additional information, as yet finalized, to go out to parents possibly Wednesday this week, Talerico said.

In the meantime, Doug Gaither said, it was simply about people on Monday at Suncrest Elementary.

“Our teachers and staffers were genuinely glad to be back,” said Gaither, who is principal of the school on Collins Ferry Road.

“There was laughter in the building.”

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