Classroom learning Monday-Thursday, remote on Friday
KINGWOOD — The back to school plan for Preston County students has changed again.
Students will now be in the classroom Monday through Thursday and participate in remote leaning on Friday. School personnel will still work Monday through Friday.
The change is to accommodate extra duties teachers will take on with virtual learning.
Virtual learning students learn at home full-time. Remote learning is when students who have opted to be in the classroom are doing class work at home. These can be either scheduled days, such as these Fridays, or others that arise because of health concerns, for example.
“Because of the sheer volume of the virtual students that we have, in looking at how to operate that we came up with a plan that our own teachers would do all of our virtual basically at the same time they’re doing in class,” Preston School Superintendent Steve Wotring explained.
About 20%, around 790, Preston students have opted to begin the year virtually. They have the option of going back to the classroom at the end of the grading period, if they are in elementary or middle school. High school students can only switch at the end of a semester.
Virtual students will be assigned a teacher, who will post videos and make assignments for them.
They may Skype into the classroom and watch pieces of instruction or talk to the teacher. The teacher can record lessons and email them to the students.
“The sheer navigation of what we’re asking our teachers to do and fully communicate with their virtual students and in-person students, that takes an exceeding amount of planning,” Wotring said.
It comes down to enough time in the workday for teachers to do it all, he said.
“So our best option was to make Friday a remote day,” he said.
It also allows an additional day to do intensive cleaning and air out schools.
School employees are already back at work, learning the details of school in the time of COVID-19. The Preston County Health Department worked with Preston County Schools on its return to school plan.
Health Department Director V.J. Davis told the Preston County Commission at its most recent meeting that, “The plans that are in place with the school system, we have looked at them … there is no fool proof way you can have for opening schools back up, but I think the plan we have in Preston County is as safe as it can be.”
There is no change in the plan for students to return to school on a staggered schedule.
On Sept. 8, only fourth, eighth and 12th graders will report. On Sept. 9, only third, seventh and 11th graders will report. On Sept. 10, only second, sixth and 10th graders will attend school. On Sept. 11, first, fifth and ninth graders will go.
Parents of pre-k and kindergarten students will be scheduled for individual appointments that week.
All students will attend school beginning Sept. 14.