Education, Latest News, Monongalia County

Mon’s schools ‘as normal as can be right now,’ senior says

MORGANTOWN — You get your “normal” where you can, Liam O’Connor said Wednesday.

“Yeah, this is really on the downward slide now,” the Morgantown High School student said.

He’s referring to his senior year — which, in these pandemic days, has a whole different definition.

“We’re just going to run it through now and see what happens,” said O’Connor, who is planning on a hitch in the U.S. Army Reserves after graduation to help pay for college.

O’Connor and his classmates returned to school Wednesday for the first day back after holiday break.

The senior wasn’t the only one with the military on his mind that day.

Mon and 41 other counties were awash in red on state’s County Alert Map for COVID — and Gov. Jim Justice, in a press briefing, also announced that a cadre of combat medics across West Virginia has been enlisted for medical recertification training this week.

That’s in the event they would need to help staff hospitals — should those facilities be overrun as new COVID cases keep stacking.  

In the meantime, district superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. reported a smooth day back as the morning bell rang for what amounts to the first day of spring for Mon Schools.

“Attendance was right where we expected,” the superintendent said. “Everything’s been really normal, actually.”

One bus run in Blacksville was delayed 45 minutes due to a mechanical issue, Transportation Director Tony Harris said.

“Other than that, everything went smoothly,” Harris said. “We’ll take it.”

“Normal” and “smooth,” meanwhile, weren’t the adjectives to describe the condition of other districts across the country. COVID, and its omicron variant in particular, has forced remote learning in many locales during the first week of 2022.

In contrast, Mon’s schools are in session with a mask mandate and other protocols in place.

“We’ve always got that in our back pocket,” Campbell said of the possibility of having to again shutter buildings.

“We can transition if we have to, but right now, we’re full steam ahead.”

A certain MHS senior is in that same mode.

“Yeah, it’s as normal as it can be, right now,” O’Connor said.

“I’m glad to be back. It does seem like a lot of people got sick over the break, though.”

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