Kanawha County officials making sure schools are ready for semester

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With less than three weeks before the school year begins, Kanawha County Schools officials are making sure faculty and staff are ready for a different than a normal school year.

Classes and procedures have changed across the state because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some parents have also agreed to let their children learn through virtual lessons and West Virginia Virtual School to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Tom Williams said he and school officials have visited all 66 institutions in the county to speak to faculty and staff about preparations for the school year.

“For the most part, people were excited. They have plans, and they know what they are going to do,” he said. “They seem to have their classrooms in order, and they are ready for e-learning.”

Williams noted there are some actions that still need to be discussed; he and county officials will meet Friday morning to discuss the procedures if someone in a class is diagnosed with the coronavirus.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting, and finally that information came down,” he said.

Students and staff will have to wear masks at all times, and Williams said existing school rules will cover the mask policy; a person will receive a warning for the first instance of not wearing a facial covering.

Williams noted it is not just children that need to follow the policy, but also adults.

“One today at one of our schools we had to suspend because they refused to wear a mask,” he said.

Teachers are encouraged to take students outside to allow for better social distancing. Williams said teachers may be able to take desks or chairs out of the classroom when appropriate.

“That’s difficult in some of our classrooms,” Williams said of the six feet recommended for social distancing.

Schools in West Virginia will open for students on Sept. 8. Kanawha County Schools employees reported to schools for the first time since the spring on Wednesday.