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BOE says safety is their top priority

It’s pretty much a lock that Delta and other variants of the coronavirus will have the last word on the first day of school in Monongalia County.

That was the word Tuesday night from Deputy Schools Superintendent Donna Talerico, who told Board of Education members that safety will be the unnegotiable priority of students, teachers and everyone associated with the district come fall.

“They’re our No. 1 focus,” she said.

Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said earlier he wanted everyone to go back to school without masks (although the district wouldn’t discourage any student or teacher wearing one) in the fall.

However, that was before the above-mentioned variant began pedaling harder, making for a second coming of the pandemic across the country, as it were.

Now, the Delta variant is the leading cause of coronavirus-related hospitalizations of young people (some seriously) across the country.

More than 80% of all new COVID cases in the U.S. are Delta diagnoses, heath watchers report.

In coming days, Talerico said, nurses in the district will meet with county health officer Dr. Lee B. Smith to delve into Delta in preparation of the first day of school here Aug. 24.

The district, she said, is heavily weighing all the guidance out there from Smith, the state Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and every other official entity out there.

“We’re monitoring everything daily,” she said.

“We have learned that we can pivot on a dime, if we have to.”

The district has also learned this past school that it’s pretty adept in running vaccination clinics.

Another round picks up next week, with the desired targets being students 12 and older who have yet to take their first shot. Also in that audience are the teachers, staffers and anyone else who works regularly with Mon’s students.

Both vaccinations will be administered at the in-school clinics.

The Aug. 2 and Aug. 30 times and locations are as follows:

  • Clay-Battelle High School, 8-9 a.m.
  • Suncrest Middle, 10-11 a.m.
  • University High, noon-1 p.m.
  • Westwood Middle, 2-3 p.m.
  • The Aug. 3 and Aug. 31 locations:
  • Mountaineer Middle, 8-9 a.m.
  • South Middle, 10-11 a.m.
  • Morgantown High, noon-1 p.m.

In other matters, the board put out a call for poll workers to assist in the Sept. 25 special election for the excess levy for schools.

People may sign up to work the election through of the office of Carye Blaney, Mon’s county clerk, Talerico said.

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