HAMLIN — The Lincoln County Board of Education voted March 30 in favor of a return to a five day a week schedule for students.
The plan — approved by all members — had students return to school five days per week beginning April 5, with an early release of students each day to allow for approximately one hour of remote instruction from teachers.
The board previously discussed changing the former reentry model during its March 16 meeting, where public speakers addressed both sides of the issue.
Superintendent Jeff Kelley ultimately proposed the five-day solution with the early release during the meeting, but said he was open to things remaining the same if that was the board’s preference. Kelley stated he understands there will be opposition to either plan, but when weighing the pros and cons he feels the five-day option is what’s best for the greatest number of students.
“The bottom line is that we have a number of people who want to maintain the four-one model, and we have a number of people who want to go to a five-day schedule,” Kelley said. “It doesn’t really matter which way we paint it up, we’ll have some people that are happy and some people that probably aren’t. So it’s not a win-win; it’s going to be a win-lose either way we go.”
Board member Rodney Baker said he has been a strong advocate for a full return since the beginning, but wanted to ensure this plan is what’s best not only for the students but also for the teachers.
“Anybody that’s attended a board meeting knows that since day one I’ve been a fierce advocate for getting kids back in the classroom as much as possible, as soon as safely possible,” Baker said. “But in this instance, having listened to people who came and talked with us the last time this was discussed and talking of the hardships, my concerns with going back to a five day is that we have some exceptional teachers who have gone above and beyond in terms of learning and changing their methodologies to adapt and try to help our kids.”
Baker added that his main concern comes from the fact that schools have been able to divide some of the virtual and in-person responsibilities up to this point, and that a five-day model may not continue to allow for that. Kelley, however, ensured that structures in the classroom would change, and that these changes would look different from school to school to address each of their individual needs.
Kelley said, ultimately, he has tried to be as open to listen to the community and develop the best plan possible. He said he brought it back to the table after the previous meeting because there was pressure with schools entering their final nine weeks of instruction for the year.
“We’ve opened our doors and these people have come in and they’ve expressed their concerns,” Kelley said. “They’re the ones that are going in there and battling it out every day. They’re the ones that have had to learn on the fly the new iPads and Schoology, online learning and all this stuff. So in the end I have no quarrels about heeding their voices again.”
Each individual school in the system has announced more information regarding how after school programs and extracurriculars will operate due to the early release.
The next meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Education will take place at 6 p.m. April 20. Visit lcsdwv.com for more information. The board met April 6, and details from that meeting will be in the April 14 edition of The Lincoln Journal due to press deadlines.