Fayette County students return to the classroom for what is expected to be their first blended week

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – Technically, Fayette County has already had their first day of school, but Monday certainly felt like it for some as it marks the first Monday back in the buildings. 

Oak Hill High School Principal Katie Hayes called it their “third first day.”

“It went really really well,” she said. “I want to thank all of our parents for really stressing to their kids the importance of being here and wearing masks and washing hands. Our students have been incredibly gracious. They understand the importance of keeping our schools safe, so it’s been a really good day.” 

Fayette County turned “gold” this week on the county map permitting the blended model which means students with last names A-L attended on Monday and will return on Tuesday.

Hayes said the halls were oddly quiet but that it was nice to see students in the halls again, even if it was just a fraction of them. 

“We’re used to having around 1,000 kids in our building. Today we had about 280, so it’s very quiet, but we have so much that we’re trying to monitor and control, it’s nice to have a smaller number,” she said. “It makes it a little more comfortable for our teachers and for our students.” 

Hayes says knowing that Fayette County will stay in the blended model until the end of the month, whether the color is green, yellow or gold, is also making it more comfortable and stable for teachers and students.

She says even though they had those two days of in-person learning less than two weeks ago, this week will be all about getting students back in the swing as they prepare for Thursday when the M-Z students come in. 

“This is what we were built for,” she said. “This is what our building is here for. It’s what we became educators to do. and even though it looks different, our passion is the same and we love our students, and we’re just glad that they’re here with us.” 

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.