It’s not all COVID-19 all the time in the Monongalia County school district.
Except when it is.
Three classrooms are now in quarantine at Mountainview Elementary after three students tested positive for the coronavirus, Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said Wednesday.
The three infected students are family members, Campbell said.
It is believed two siblings and their cousin caught the virus while attending a church service over the weekend, the superintendent said.
Because all three are in different grades at the school on Green Bag Road, Campbell said he and administrators made the decision to put three classes into quarantine – meaning 54 additional classmates, plus three teachers, will do their work remotely for the next two weeks.
“We’re working out of an abundance of caution the way we always do,” the superintendent said.
“And we didn’t want to have to break up any classes. We wanted to preserve that continuity of learning.”
Besides the coronavirus, though, the district was also focusing Wednesday in part on its Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan, or CEFP, a paradigm-shifting roll of the dice that happens every 10 years.
Call the CEFP an infrastructure owner’s manual that’s also in the speculation business.
The 2010-20 document, for example, called for the construction of Eastwood Elementary, the county’s first environmentally friendly school.
Eastwood’s address, on a grassy rise just off the heavily trafficked and dense commercial strip of the Mileground, couldn’t have seemed more improbable at the time.
And now, Mon Schools’ recently approved CEFP that runs through 2030 is again expanding the district’s vision.
The updated document calls for construction of an additional high school, which would be devoted solely to STEM, the academic and hands-on studies of science, engineering, technology and math.
So christened the “Renaissance Academy,” the $72 million building would be a gleaming showcase of career and technical education in the county.
It would be outfitted with all the hardware, software, diagnostic equipment and outlays – from corporate sponsors and partners, ideally – to mimic today’s specialized workplaces for students who don’t necessarily want to go to college but still want schooled in a career.
The academy, as said, would be Mon’s fourth public high school, but not a standalone entity.
It would be a magnet school, in effect, for the county’s other three existing high schools.
Morgantown High students and their counterparts from University and Clay-Battelle could rotate in two days a week for technical instruction, without having to sacrifice their other classes in the core disciplines.
The district, in effect, booked the opening act for the as-yet built school on Wednesday, with the help of the state Board of Education.
That came with the state board’s approval of Mon’s amendment to the CEFP, which calls for the reconfiguring of the Technical Education Center on Mississippi Street as an eventual standalone STEM enterprise, as well, geared to middle school.
The board gave an affirmative checkmark to the request during a regularly scheduled meeting in Charleston.
Plans include the addition of three classrooms with lab space to accommodate robotics, pre-engineering and electronic gaming pursuits.
“That’s our priority project for 2021,” Campbell said. “And this is really the way of the world in education right now.”