Fayette County officials detail plan to bring students back to school five days per week

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – “We will take all additional safety precautions.”

Tuesday afternoon, the West Virginia State Board of Education determined that Kindergarten-8th grade students could attend school five days per week. The Fayette County Board of Education determined last week that if the state board settled on that decision, it would as well.

“We were ready to do that,” said Fayette County Schools’ Superintendent Gary Hough. “We went four days, but we were willing to do that five days a week. The only exception would be if you had your own virtual model. We don’t.”

Fayette County officials have been confident that, with approval, it would be safe to increase the number of in person days for students. COVID-19 trends have been encouraging in the county since mid-January.

“That’s very reassuring to us that we are going in the right direction,” said Fayette County Health Officer Dr. Anita Stewart. “I think that’s a combination of vaccination efforts, as well as a decrease from the holidays being over.”

The State Board maintained the ruling that if a county moves into red on the color coding map, high school students will go remote. Fayette County is also in line with that stance, despite having a lower level of COVID-19 cases at the high school level.

“The decision was being consistent across the board,” Hough said. “We know we have flexibility as a board. If we feel like we have a problem in a high school setting we can adjust. The key element is that if we move into red, high school has to go home.”

Fayette County officials are aware that having students in school more often could lead to an increase in COVID cases. The plan for bringing students back full time will take that into account.

“We’re always monitoring the incidents that we’re having in our community,” Stewart said.

“If we think we have a problem, we’re going to look at all of the information,” Hough said. “We’re going to look at all of the videotape. We’re going to look at all of the movements.”