MARTINSBURG — Having faced remote learning for the majority of the school year based on the the West Virginia Department of Education COVID-19 map, including a multi-week stint in red recently, Berkeley County has opted to remain remote through winter break.
Berkeley County also announced recently when inclement weather arises during periods when the district is already remote, learning will go on.
“Should BCS experience inclement weather during remote learning days, remote learning will continue,” a release from the district said. “BCS staff will not report to our buildings. Essential employees will report to schools and offices.”
Curbside meals and special services will not be provided on those days.
BCS will alert families with an inclement weather announcement through the NTouch system when these days arise.
However, if the district is teaching via the Brick and Click pathways, meaning the county is in green, yellow or gold on the WVDE map, a traditional snow day will be observed, according to the release. The first five snow days missed due to inclement weather will not be made up, but those following will be observed via remote learning.
That same release also noted due to the shortened day due COVID-19, morning delays will not be used this year. Early dismissals will only be utilized if inclement weather moves in after the school day begins, the community to be alerted by 11:30 a.m. if that arises.
The second release from BCS this weekend was in reference to going remote through the coming break. Students may return to Brick or Click learning on Jan. 5, pending that week’s WVDE map’s designation. Jan. 4 will serve as an asynchronous remote learning day for students as staff attend planning, collaboration and Faculty Senate meetings.
“It is our hope that by extending remote learning in advance of the next map (Dec. 19), families/caregivers can better plan for remote instruction through the end of 2020 calendar year,” a release from Berkeley County Schools said. “We also hope that reducing the number of staff in our schools and offices will help keep our school community healthier with reduced COVID transmission opportunities.”
The release encouraged any families needing help with learning or devices to contact the Tutoring Help Desk and the Technology help desk. Curbside meals will continue to be available with this week’s pickup happening today at Hedgesville Elementary, Spring Mills Primary, Tuscarora Elementary, South Middle, Mill Creek Elementary and Back Creek Valley Elementary. Meals are available to any child ages 2-18 in the district. Another meal pickup will be announced before the break.
Berkeley County was one of 14 red counties on Saturday’s WVDE map, not including another five who voluntarily entered red status and chose to move fully remote for education.
Red, “substantial community transmission,” means there are 25 or more cases of infection per 100,000 residents or a positivity rate of greater than 8%. Berkeley County has been red since Thanksgiving week with very little movement outside of the designation on the Department of Health and Human Resources daily map. Only four counties were green on the most recent WVDE map.
Both Jefferson and Morgan counties were considered orange on the most recent WVDE map, “heightened community transmission.” Orange means there are between 15-24.9 cases per 100,000 or a positivity rate between 5-7.9 percent, requiring remote learning for students. Both counties have been orange for a number of weeks after spending the beginning of the year in the buildings.
On the daily DHHR map, Jefferson split the statistics between red and orange, the infection rate in red all week and the positivity rate in orange. When the statistics fall into separate categories, the lesser of the two is used to indicate how education will be handled for the following week. Morgan also virtually split the week, the infection rate red the entire time while the positivity rate was orange five out of seven days.
In Jefferson County, multi-day meal packs will be available at all schools on Tuesday from 8:30-10:30 a.m. as child nutrition services continue. Morgan County nutrition services will be provided via bus routes on Tuesday and Thursday, pending weather.
Anyone interested in being added to the bus route on remote weeks in Morgan County should call 304-258-2430 ext. 2053 or 2054 and leave a message with the child’s name, school, address and a callback number.