Monongalia County schools went into Day 2 of the of the new academic year Wednesday with only “a few tweaks” related to bus runs, Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said.
“It’s just a matter of making sure we’re getting our kids on time,” the superintendent said.
“In terms of the generalities of going back, we’re doing pretty well.”
Such qualifying, as in the case of the above, is a required course in pandemic times, where there’s no such thing as “routine,” he said.
With the county back to school in-person – and the inevitability that positive diagnoses will be made this term – the goal, the superintendent said, is the effective management of those caught by the coronavirus.
Mon is honing its contact-tracing this year, with help from its mask mandate and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New guidance released by the CDC this summer will be especially key to children under the age of 12 in elementary school, Campbell said. There’s currently no vaccine on the market for them.
Now, if a student comes into contact with another who tests positive, said student won’t have to quarantine – so long as both were wearing masks at the time.
The new measure, the superintendent said, will avoid a repeat of last year’s “pandemic math” – which resulted in hundreds of quarantines from handfuls of positive cases.
“Things are going to be a lot simpler and our quarantine numbers are going to be drastically reduced,” Campbell said.
“Before, whole classes would have to go home if one kid was positive.”
In the meantime, the debate over masking continues. Most of the 20 parents who spoke at Tuesday’s Mon Board of Education meeting asked the board to lift its current mask mandate – saying they should be the ones to decide for their children.
Others in the parking lot waved signs and American flags in their protest of the same.
“We gave a platform for everyone who wanted to speak,” Campbell said.
“The board and the administration appreciate those comments,” he said, “and we take everyone into account.”
The Delta variant is roiling in the Mountain State, and a handful of schools in Harrison Mason, Kanawha, Pendleton and Mingo counties are already affected, according to the state Department of Education.
Capitol High in Charleston notched 29 positive cases Monday, according to reports.
And the county alert map used by the state Department of Health and Human Resources to chart the contagion is already taking on an autumnal cast, with dominant orange and red across 55 counties.