Monroe County Schools return to in-person classes after two weeks virtual

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UNION, WV (WVNS) — The last time Monroe County students sat at their desks was in March. Six months later, students are back and walking the halls.

“Our teachers were very excited to have students in the classroom,” Johnathan McPherson said. “It looks a little different with half capacity and there’s a lot less students in the building, but I could tell even on the student’s faces, they were very excited.”

McPherson is the Assistant Superintendent for Monroe County Schools. Monroe County started this school year in the red category on the County Alert System. As of Saturday, Monroe County is in the yellow category, meaning students can be face-to-face with their instructors.

“It’s been a hard first two weeks starting off with remote instruction, not having students in class first,” McPherson said. “But it’s been great to be able to see buses on the roads and students in the buildings this week.”

With classes at half capacity and some students still participating in virtual schooling, McPherson said students are able to distance themselves from others. He added students are eating in their classrooms instead of congregating in the cafeteria.

If Monroe County were to go into the red category again, McPherson said it would not be too difficult to switch to a virtual model.

“I think it’ll help now that we’ve seen our students and we can kinda show them what we want that to look like for remote learning or distanced learning,” McPherson said. “It was just hard the first two weeks when we haven’t seen our students and making contact with each and every one of them.”

Students returned on a split schedule with the first group attending in-person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays. The second group will have in-person classes on Thursday and Friday. Staff will deep clean the schools on Wednesdays.

Wednesday is also the day staff will be handing out meal bags to students in Monroe County. Director of Child Nutrition, Susan Weikle, said they changed how they provide meals. Virtual students will receive five day food bags, while students who attend in-person classes will get a three day bag.

Weikle said they will continue to distribute food like this for the next nine weeks.

“We are going to be on AB days for the first nine weeks so we’ll continue it through then,” Weikle said. “And then after that, we’ll have to reevaluate the situation and see how best to get that food out to those students.”

Weikle told 59News distribution is typically from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., but that could change.

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