Effective immediately, all Upshur County schools will make a complete shift to remote learning until January 4, 2021. This transition is necessary for a variety of reasons to include: the recent spike in infections in Upshur County and the difficulty with staffing school buildings due to a large number of staff who have been quarantined or who are home for related reasons.
During this past week, Buckhannon-Upshur High School and Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School were moved to fully remote due to the lack of substitute teachers. We do not want to cross cohorts and ultimately, on some days in the past weeks, it has not been possible to find sufficient numbers of substitutes and some of our schools have had to close.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus reports, “The decision to go remote was “extremely difficult,” but it is the best and safest course for Upshur County Schools at this point. With an increase in positive cases, our ability to safely keep our schools open and adequately staffed has been affected.” Dr. Jeffery Harvey noted that the schools were not only impacted by positive cases resulting from community spread, but also necessary precautionary quarantines of those exposed to positive cases. Harvey is the district’s Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and he coordinates frequently with the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department to track cases in schools.
Dr. Tammy Samples, Board of Education President, stated, “This is a difficult time for everyone. Decisions like this are not easy. The health of our students and employees is of the utmost importance. We continue to have substitute shortages, making in-person learning difficult. This also provides parents adequate time to plan ahead. I am hopeful that this extended break will calm the elevated numbers that we are experiencing in Upshur County at this time and we can get back to the business of learning with children in our schools.”
All Upshur County teachers and staff will report to the schools during the time of remote learning and be readily available to support and feed our students. We are planning a special curbside, Thanksgiving food box option for all Upshur County families at B-U Middle School on Tuesday, November 24 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This will be the only location from which we will serve during the holiday break.
Thank you again for your patience as we work to keep our students, staff, and community safe. We are grateful for our community and your continued support and look forward to the time when our students can return safely to the classroom.