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Mon school district positive (in good way) on this year’s COVID cases

A total of 866 students in Monongalia’s school district received at least one shot of the COVID vaccination this past school year.

And 1,600 teachers and other adults associated with the district rolled up their sleeves for the same.

Deputy Schools Superintendent Donna Talerico rolled out those numbers during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Talerico used the occasion to the flip back the definition of the word “positive” during the session.

For most of the 2020-21 academic year, which spooled out last month, the sound of that word meant things weren’t going well in schools operating under the shadow of the pandemic.

It meant students and others were sick with COVID – some worse than others.

But for Talerico, the word “worse” had a relative meaning, also, in unprecedented, pandemic times.

While hundreds of students and handfuls of teachers had to sit out on quarantine at various times during the year from coming into to contact with the coronavirus, relatively speaking, she said, things could have been, well, worse.

Sports teams were occasionally benched and bus runs were sometimes canceled.

One middle school went on total remote learning for a day, while contact tracing commenced.

A total of 137 students – or, less than 1% of the county’s total student population – tested positive for the virus this term, Talerico said.

Add another 160 teachers, staffers and other adults associated with the district, the deputy superintendent reported.

That’s roughly 9% of the district’s adult workforce.

The majority of cases, she said, came from Morgantown and University high schools.

“Our two largest high schools,” she said.

It was positive – in the best definition of the word, she said – that there weren’t more cases among the two populations.

“All in all, I think it demonstrates that all the protocols we had in place worked,” Talerico said.

That included the district’s vigorous, in-house contact tracing network and a specially trained disinfecting crew on-call to get each building a thorough workover where cases occurred.

The district isn’t done with its COVID work, she said, even if students are now out for summer vacation.

More sleeves will be rolled up next week as 1,400 middle school students report to their respective schools for their second dose of the vaccine.