Mingo County Schools officials said the county will begin its 2020-21 school year via remote and virtual learning. The decision not to begin in-person learning as planned comes after the county moved over the weekend from yellow to orange in the state's color-coded metrics system.
As a result of the new color designation, the county was required to delay the in-person model at least a week, and both its remote and virtual learning models for all students until Thursday, Sept. 10.
School officials said the county will be required to continue the remote learning model until its average number of positive cases is reduced and it returns to either a yellow or green designation, which is based on a 7-day rolling average of new cases and is updated each Saturday evening.
The start date for remote and virtual learning was delayed this week for two days so computers for remote learning could be distributed to and picked up at all schools on Tuesday and Wednesday by those students who had signed up for the in-person learning option.
With specific safety measures having for weeks been put into place and fine-tuned before the original Sept. 8 start date, the overall reentry plan, which the board approved in early July, entails a blended option which when possible provides students with in-person learning Monday through Thursday and remote learning on Fridays.
The plan also called for virtual learning for students who opted not to attend in-person classes. This option provides students with instruction via a digital curriculum during scheduled student/teacher video/audio conferencing sessions outlined for advising and tutoring.
School officials said the change also comes in the wake of a number of positive COVID-19 cases having been confirmed and reported earlier last week at Mingo Central High School and the Central Office, as well as exposure having occurred within the MCHS football team.
As a result of the MCHS football team having been exposed to a person identified as a probable case between Aug. 25 and Aug. 27, a suspension of both practice and play for the MCHS football team was also issued and will remain in effect until further notice.
Because Mingo County moved to the orange category Saturday, the county's other sports teams are allowed to hold practices this week but cannot play scheduled games until the county moves back to either a yellow or green status.