BUCKHANNON – In just one week, families who have selected for their students to return to school face-to-face will be back in the classrooms for the first time since March. While even students attending ‘bricks and mortar’ school will have remote learning, lots of aspects of this school year will look very different than in past years.
Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said that this year the back-to-school theme is ‘This is the Year!’ and has indicated that this upcoming school year is meant to be one where students will be inspired. Stankus said she hopes students receive an outstanding education, whether they choose to learn in the classroom blended with remote learning or strictly home-based learning.
“Our Upshur County community understands there is nothing more important than educating and caring for our children,” Stankus said in a press release. “Our children need us now more than ever. Welcome back to a new school year and we look forward to seeing you soon.”
So, when will school begin and how do families know which days to send their learners to school? Those students who have selected the blended learning path will attend in person school following this schedule:
- Classes in Upshur County begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8 when all students from Group A (those students with last names beginning with A through L) who are in the following grades will attend school: pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, sixth grade and ninth grade.
- On Wednesday, Sept. 9 all student from Group B (those students with last names beginning with M through Z) who are in these grades will attend school: pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, sixth grade and ninth grade.
- On Thursday, Sept 10 all students from Group A (those students with last names beginning with A through L) who are in the following grades will attend school: third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade, 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade.
- Finally, on Friday, Sept 11 all students from Group B (those students with last names beginning with M through Z) who are in these grades will attend school: third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade, 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade.
Stankus said the reason for the staggered re-entry is to assure students are in a safe, secure efficient learning environment and noted school will dismiss each day at 2 p.m.
“This will provide our faculty and staff time to clean, have a duty-free lunch, communicate with families and assist their students with virtual learning assignments,” Stankus said in the release.
“Keep in mind that in order to keep students in school, safety protocols must be followed,” Stankus said. “The first week of school will be used as a ‘welcome back and transition’ period. Our students have been away from us since March, so we want to provide time for teachers and students to reconnect.”
In the press release, Stankus said during the first week, staff will instruct students on physical and social distancing, introduce procedures and safety protocols and other preventative measures. She said students will receive training on their new Apple one-to-one technology devices, learn how to use the Schoology platform and learn how to use Google Classroom.
The second week of school, Sept. 14-18, school will begin with Group A attending school face-to-face on Monday and Thursday and Group B attending face-to-face school on Tuesday and Friday.
“Wednesday will be remote learning for all students,” Stankus said, adding that when students are not in school face-to-face, they will be learning remotely. “Students enrolled in ‘full-time remote learning’ will be learning remotely all five days.”
A copy of the re-entry plan for Upshur County Schools is available here at www.upshurschools.com.
Officials in the Upshur County Schools system recognize that some families will need to make modifications for the days when their children attend school because not all children in families have the same last names or other reasons. Families who need to request that their children attend with a different group should complete the form on the Upshur County Schools website here.
Students who will ride buses to school can find the routes listed on www.upshurschools.com and the Upshur County Schools West Virginia Facebook page. The routes will be listed in local media sources as well. Bus transportation will be provided to Stockert Youth & Community Center from all schools this year.
Parents picking up five-day food boxes for their students may do so on Wednesday, Sept. 2 and Wednesday, Sept. 9 at the school closest to their homes and the boxes will be available curbside. The hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Upshur County students who will utilize full-time remote learning or virtual schools should direct their questions to Jenny Drake, who can be contacted by dialing 304-472-5480 ext. 2026.
Buckhannon-Upshur High School will be sponsoring a Freshman Open House from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 1-3, and families should receive a phone call with their assigned time to attend, which will be given depending on the student’s last name.
Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School is conducting new and sixth-grade student tours on Thursday, Sept. 3. Students with last names beginning with A through L will begin at 1 p.m., and students with last names beginning with M through Z will begin at 2:30 p.m. The group tours are for students only and face masks/coverings will be required.