Jackson County school leaders continue to plan for new year

RIPLEY, W.Va. — School leaders across the state continue to adjust plans based on the guidance put into place by Gov. Jim Justice this week on the start of the school year.

Justice announced that the earliest start date for schools is now September 8, a couple of weeks after scheduled start dates for many counties in the state.

The announcement comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in West Virginia continues to climb.

“This gives us a little more planning time, a little more reaction time. But also it raises a number of questions that will have to be considered by county school systems,” Blaine Hess, the Jackson County School Superintendent told WMOV Radio in Ravenswood.

Hess further said it gives the school system more time to plan for whatever scenarios the virus brings to schools, whether it’s in-person or virtual or both.

Jimmy Fraiser, the principal of Ripley High School told WMOV that planning remains tough and there are a lot of questions by parents, students and community members that they simply don’t have answers to yet.

“We just keep planning, planning and planning and then we get told no we can’t do this or that. It’s frustrating, I understand that. Everybody has to go through it but it’s tough,” Fraiser.

Adena Barnette, a history teacher at Ripley High School told WMOV she is most concerned about students at this time.

“Especially for a lot of our at-risk kids who have been at home and may have not seen another adult since March 13,” she said. “I am also really concerned about our special education population in Jackson County. Those kids haven’t received their services from teachers.”