Raleigh County students attend school in-person for the first time in 2021

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – “There’s nothing like having a hands-on learning approach inside of a classroom and being able to answer questions instead of being on a video.”

And for the first time in 2021, Raleigh County students were granted that hands-on learning approach as they returned for in person learning. The county will continue with its blended model to start the new year, with two days of in-person learning each week for students that opt in.

“Raleigh County was already doing two-day instruction, so we were ahead of the game in the first place,” said Beckley-Stratton Middle School Principal Yahon Smith. “We’re just making the progression to eventually get them back in school completely for the five days instruction. We’ll have to look to see, and Superintendent (David) Price will look to see, what’s going on outside pretty much in the state of West Virginia and also in the world.”

Despite spending the fall adjusting to remote learning, both teachers and employees were looking forward to today, as there is no substitute for in person learning.

“We’re so happy to have the kids back in the building,” said Beckley-Stratton Middle School Assistant Principal Melanie McMillan. “We’ve missed them. I’m sure they’ve missed their friends. So we’re just really excited to have them back here. The staff is extremely excited to have the kids back as well. They’ve missed their students. They’ve missed them being in the classroom and having that face-to-face instruction.”

Raleigh County school employees are slowly gaining access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“That means as a community, we’re going to be protected,” Smith said. “From the staff to the students on down.”

Getting staffs vaccinated will only speed up the end goal of getting back to a full five-day week of in person learning for students.

“Many of us have taken that opportunity to receive the vaccine,” McMillan said. “(We) hope that we can have the kids back here full time, five days a week.”