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Mon BOE discusses student vaccines, summer enrichment program

Sara Anderson gave a dose of pandemic pragmatism during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Monongalia County Board of Education.

“It’s not enough,” she said.

The board member was talking about herd immunity in the time of COVID.

Herd immunity, specifically, in relation to the vaccine clinics for Mon students that will commence next week at Morgantown High, University and Clay-Battelle.

To date, 260 UHS students have signed up for their first Pfizer shots, along with 240 at Morgantown High.

A total of 23 are currently in line for the clinic at Clay-Battelle.

Shots will be administered April 21 and April 22 in three separate clinics at the schools.

You won’t get to herd immunity with just 523 submitting to the vaccine, said Anderson, an early childhood education researcher and assistant professor at WVU.

The outreach and marketing, she said, will have to continue after the first 523 receive their inoculations, so 523 more can line up.

“We just need to be super-realistic,” she said, concerning outcomes and how quickly the district might hit the curve going the other way.

Donna Talerico, the district’s deputy superintendent, agreed.

“We’re going to continue to push and push,” she said.

That’s because COVID – its resulting U.K. and California variants, in particular – keeps pushing across the county and the district.  

The positive diagnosis of a cook at Westwood Middle School on Tuesday put two other cooks into quarantine.

Monongalia County pandemic recipe on Tuesday was showing of yellow on the County Alert Map maintained by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

With the 2020-’21 school year quickly unspooling, the district is already looking to when morning bell rings for the first day of the new academic year Aug. 19.

Many of Mon’s youngster students will have to go through Summer Avalanche to get there.

That’s what the district is calling its $1.4 enrichment program that will run through July for elementary and middle-school students while taking in subjects as diverse as geography to golf.

The grant money comes by way of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund, or ESSERF, as its own.

ESSERF dollars in recent months have been doled out to school districts across the country, including Mon’s, through the U.S. Department of Education.

The idea of the Avalanche, Talerico said, is to keep students engaged over the summer, while maybe notching some momentum into fall.

A forward step is a forward step, board member Melanie Rogers said, especially since it will probably take two academic years to gauge the full intellectual and social impact on the students who go to school here.

Especially since everything was shuttered this time last year, she said. Students were on full remote learning and extracurricular programs were shut down – just like that.

“I think what’s so positive for this summer is that we’re talking about it.”

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