We are moving through our first month of school re-entry. Our school professional and service personnel have been diligently implementing practices aligned with COVID 19 protocols. We applaud school staff and families for being open to learning and adhering to safety practices that help keep our schools and communities safer. Our students have been wearing face coverings, learning how to travel hallways and orient themselves to the various social distancing guidelines and seating arrangements across their school environments. The combination of the Blended Model and Distance Learning is helping to keep the cohorts small, which helps with contact tracing and containing the virus.
We continue to communicate regularly with the Marion County Health Department. This plan has been customized to address our specific school re-entry scenarios. It reflects the coordinated efforts of public health actions and school system actions to meet the goals of safety and mitigating the spread of COVID- 19. The Marion County Health Department SCHOOL OUTBREAK RESPONSE PLAN reflects four primary goals.
Goal 1: Limit the spread of COVID 19 in schools and communities.
Goal 2: Establish a socially conscious safe learning environment in the school system during the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Goal 3: Promote actions that mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in schools and communities.
Goal 4: Identify and investigate cases and contacts of COVID 19 quickly and efficiently to establish disease intervention actions.
Our school nurses have been strictly following the WV School Nurses protocol under the strong leadership of our lead/head nurse Mandy Boylen. We are fortunate to have a LPN in every school in Marion County. These LPNs are supervised by an experienced group of 6 (RNs) school nurses. In addition, to our nursing staff we are fortunate to continue our relationship with Monongahela Valley Association (MVA) Health Center. MVA provides Wellness Center opportunities for our school population. Their offices are strategically located at both ends of the county on the North Marion High School campus and East Fairmont High School campus. School nurses have worked with principals to ensure that there are appropriate arrangements to keep symptomatic students and staff separated from other students and staff that may be visiting the nurse for other health reasons. The Marion County Schools nursing staff has been focused on responding to our populations health needs and their record keeping and communication back to the head school nurse is remarkable.
Although many practices are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the school system must also be prepared to respond when we get information that staff and/or students have a positive COVID lab test. Schools provide a vital role in working with the health department for contact tracing when staff or students are diagnosed. Crucial information is gleaned from school level documentation such as the master cohort lists, classroom seating charts, extra-curricular activity participants, attendance logs, bus numbers, bus seating charts, etc. This information affords us the pertinent information needed to alert the focused populations that will need to quarantine.
It is certainly understandable that staff and families are frightened when we get information of a positive COVID 19 lab test. All parties in the school worry about the person(s) diagnosed and fear for the potential of wider spread. When notified of an exposure, we appreciate staff, students, and families that responsibly quarantine as advised.
Final thoughts to remember
Be well, stay safe.
On Friday, August 7th Dell informed Marion County Schools that the shipment of Dell Chromebooks ordered in mid-June will be delayed approximately 2 months due to a Google Chip Shortage in China. The China Tariff has also slowed shipments across our state and entire nation.
According to Dell, Marion County’s Chromebooks are due to arrive on or near the date of October 24th. Marion County Schools remains committed to facilitating student learning in the Blended Learning, Distance Learning and WV Virtual School Learning Scenarios and will assist students who do not have a device or acceptable access to a computer at home to “check out” a device at their respective school.
School Principals are aware of the delay and are eager to work with their staff to accommodate requests for students who need access to technology and a device at home. These devices will be “checked out” and will be returned to the school when the new Chromebooks arrive.
It is a difficult situation to make decisions for schools and school activities with so many variables that change often in the current pandemic situation. We are not lightly making the decisions without checking available information. Part of the difficulty is that we are uninformed because all of this is new. Prior knowledge does not exist for this pandemic. Best practices are being realized on the fly as we progress.
We believe that extra-curricular activities such as athletics and the arts are a very important part of schools and of great interest to students. This belief is consistent in the support given to make them an important part of schools. We also believe by reports from Athletic Directors and Coaches, that our students, coaches and volunteers are practicing social distancing and other protocols according to plans submitted. We commend them for their actions.
We are not sure of the safe practices at other social gatherings in the community outside of school activities and the impact it may have on school activities. It is recommended by the Governor and the state for us to follow the advice and recommendations of our local health departments. We are complying with that advice and recommendations. The Governor and state want contact tracing completed to confirm more localized reduction of risks, instead of shutting the whole state down again. Mitigation of risks is very important. We are working with the health department to see, without breaking confidentiality, how much information we can obtain from contact tracing and positive cases for decision making on a more targeted basis. Currently, we are relying on self-reporting alone. As we move forward, self-reporting will remain a very important part of continued progress to maintain keeping schools and activities open. It is our goal to resume activities with better information as soon as we can. We are trying to reduce the risks and keep everyone safe.
In-person graduation ceremonies for West Virginia schools are permitted starting June 22, 2020, in outdoor venues only.
All of the Graduation Ceremonies in Marion County will be live-streamed on each high school’s Facebook page.
Given that at this time there is no way to mitigate all the risks involved in attending public events, people must make their own decisions on whether or not to attend large capacity activities given their own or their family’s health vulnerabilities.
Outdoor events must be structured to allow for appropriate social distancing and other safety measures to be in place.
Safety Precautions that everyone is expected to follow:
Please self-monitor with the following questions prior to attending any graduation ceremony.
If you have had any of these symptoms in the 24 hours prior to the event or are feeling ill at the time of the event, you must stay home.
Please help us keep everyone safe by self-monitoring your own symptoms and following the safety precautions.
It pulls at your heart not to let more people attend, but having the event at all is of concern for the spread of the coronavirus. We hope our community understands the dilemma of taking the chance to hold a large capacity event. Decisions are not easy in these times. The larger the crowd, the higher the risk factors. The smaller the crowd, the lower the risk factors. Making a choice for the safety of our students and community should be viewed as the right choice. We value everyone’s understanding.
Clarification on “Re-starting” Athletics in Marion County Schools
Over the past several weeks, the WVSSAC staff has been developing a plan for the “re-start” of athletics for the Summer of 2020. They worked closely with the Governor’s office, the WVDE and the WVDHHR. They also obtained guidance from the National Federation of High Schools.
Superintendents received an email from Mr. Dolan of the WVSSAC on May 29, 2020 with the “re-start” plan for athletics for the Summer of 2020, WVDHHR guidance for organized camps and WVDHHR guidance for businesses and employers.
On June 1, 2020 at the Marion County Board of Education meeting, the superintendent included these documents in his report to the board, noting that the three-week period had been moved to start on July 5, 2020.
The WVSSAC guidelines were developed with one primary objective – the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff. While the guidelines may not be optimal for some, we believe they will allow us to bring students and staff back to school campuses in the safest manner possible, given the most current information we have available at this time regarding COVID-19. We have been asked to monitor the activities closely in our athletic programs and make adjustments as we proceed, if we see there is reason for any needed changes.
The superintendent asked for three basic things to be put in place beyond the guidance from the WVSSAC. Those three basic things were: signage outlining safety reminders for use of the facilities, assistance from volunteers for sanitizing and a written plan for how each coach would implement the WVSSAC’s guidelines based upon their group’s individual situations. The guidelines of the WVSSAC can be found at this link: https://governor.wv.gov/Documents/Covid%20Additional%20Guidances/Summer%20Guidance%20Draft%20Final%20May%2029.pdf
Following that, the superintendent asked for administrators, athletic directors and coaches to meet and report back the results of the meetings. They met and the results reported back to the superintendent at 10:30 PM on June 4, 2020 were the following:
Marion County Schools
Phase I, II and III Plan
The number one goal of Marion County Schools is to keep athletes and students safe during the pandemic crisis.
Marion County students will be participating in Phase I and Phase II from June 8th to July 3rd by implementing an altered version of the WVSSAC directive.
Our coaches are required to design a written program of conditioning for student athletes to complete. Our students can independently work on their own or can choose a virtual setting with their coach to accomplish the daily conditioning goals.
Beginning July 5, unless changes occur, our student athletes will participate in the Phase III implementation following the guidelines established by the WVSSAC.
Marion County is posting safety guidelines at every facility including playgrounds.
While we understand the importance of opening our facilities, we do not want to rush into any situation that could create a serious health issue.
On Friday, June 5, 2020, the superintendent received the preliminary discussion, but the three basic things asked for in consideration of implementing the WVSSAC’s guidelines are still being determined. We should be able to open as stated in the WVSSAC guidelines with the three basic items asked for finalized.
At no time did the Marion County Board of Education take a vote on any specific plan. It was not an agenda item, it was an informational item for them to be aware of operational functions for the “re-start” plan for athletic and band programs.
The superintendent and the board will always strive to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of our students and staff is considered in the development of any plans.
Please be reminded that official information from Marion County Board of Education will be on <www.marionboe.com> and on occasion posted on the “Marion Strong” Facebook page operated by The Marion County Chamber of Commerce.
Marion County Schools is proud to present the Class of 2020 in a streamed graduation video that can be viewed at the following links on Friday, May 22, 2020 at 7:00 P.M.:
North Marion High School: https://www.facebook.com/nmhshuskies
East Fairmont High School: https://www.facebook.com/efhsbees/
Fairmont Senior High School: https://www.facebook.com/FSHSBears/
The videos will also be available on-demand on each school's Facebook page after the virtual graduation airs at 7:00 P.M. May 22, 2020.
Look for Senior Signs honoring our graduates this weekend on the campuses of Fairmont Senior High and North Marion High Schools! Signs for East Fairmont High will be on the Gateway Connector. Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
Marion County Schools has confirmed a change for meal service as of today. On Friday, May 1st the Marion County Office of Child Nutrition was made aware of an instate meal opportunity to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proof of concept was implemented on May 5th in one other county with great success. Starting on Wednesday, May 20th, Marion County Schools will be delivering student meals purchased from Multitude Foods, a West Virginia company. We appreciate the input and support from our community and hope volunteers continue to help with the delivery in the future.
We are also excited to announce a summer partnership with Marion County Parks and Recreation (MCPARC), to provide for the distribution of the meals as we transition to the summer program. Starting on Wednesday, June 3rd through Wednesday, August 12th, MCPARC will distribute the meals for Marion County Schools. Thank you to Mr. Tony Michalski and the MCPARC employees for assisting us with this partnership. An update will come on this later naming distribution sites and times for pick-up for the summer meal service.
The plans for celebrating our seniors are coming along. We have had a nice response so far, to the donations for senior signs. We have reached 75% of our goal. We just need a little more help. Thank you to those who have already donated. The graduation videos are nearing completion and should be available by our original graduation date of May 22.
We are encouraging students to continue with remote learning provided by their teachers. We hope they are also reading for fun, enjoying learning games, helping with chores, getting some fresh air and taking every opportunity to learn from all of their experiences.
Schools are making the arrangements to complete the normal tasks for ending the school year. Students and parents are or will be receiving messaging from their schools, to alert them to their part in necessary tasks for ending the school year.
Be well, stay safe.
Each year we celebrate with many activities and events at the end of the school year. This year is different under the circumstances, to make them a reality. We have heard from students and the community through various types of messaging that the majority still want a delayed in-person graduation. It is our hope and goal to make that happen.
Principals, student government groups, and central administration have worked together to move forward with plans for graduation. To date we have planned a graduation video and delayed in-person ceremonies.
East Fairmont High School
June 27, 7:00 PM at East-West Stadium
Rain Date: June 29, 7:00 PM at East-West Stadium
Fairmont Senior High School
June 26, 7:00 PM at East-West Stadium
Rain Date: June 28, 7:00 PM at East-West Stadium
North Marion High School
June 26, 7:00 PM on Roy Michael Field at Woodcutters’ Stadium
Rain Date: June 27, 7:00 PM on Roy Michael Field at Woodcutters’ Stadium
Every date that is announced must meet the following conditions before it can occur:
Please remember to participate in the WVSSAC’s May 1st event for the Class of 2020! https://www.wvssac.org
Please await further information to be released with other details, as we continue to plan for celebrating the Class of 2020.
Be well, stay safe.
This week we are back from Spring Break. We hope everyone was able to create a little extra fun and family activity at home during Spring Break to make it as enjoyable as you could under the circumstances.
Governor Justice made an announcement yesterday that school buildings and facilities will remain closed through the remainder of the school year. It was very evident that decision was not easy for him, or anyone else involved in making that decision. His decision, made with the advisement of professionals in the medical community, was made with the reasoning of protection and safety. We are all asked to continue with care and concern for each other, social distancing, and healthy habits.
Marion County Schools will continue remote learning, student engagement and meal distribution. We will work with the Graduation Taskforce that was organized to get ideas and information on opportunities to plan for our own celebrations for seniors. So far, most of those who have contacted me have asked to still have an in-person graduation. We are reaching out to stakeholders to gather ideas for our high schools to consider in making final plans.
We ask for your patience and input to help us provide something special for our seniors to celebrate the very important milestone of high school graduation. High schools have been working to assist students with their individual plans to make the smooth transition, in moving towards the next phase of their life. Watch for requests to participate in providing your input that may come through various methods of communication.
We are blessed with amazing Marion Countians who continue to make sure children are served.
Be well, stay safe.
The Superintendent and Central Office Staff would like to wish All of Marion County Happy Easter!
Spring Break will be observed Friday, April 10th – Sunday, April 19th – No instruction or meal delivery.
Since meal delivery from the school system is not happening during Spring Break, we have reached out to United Way to help us with what is available in the community. Please visit to see where assistance with food is available for families in Marion County. https://www.marionboe.com/uploads/1/1/8/0/118033202/marion_county_food_availability.pdf
An updated version of Marion County Schools Framework for the COVID-19 Emergency is posted at https://www.marionboe.com/uploads/1/1/8/0/118033202/mcboe_remote_learning.pdf.
As we continue our efforts to navigate through this difficult time when there is potential for an increase in the pandemic, we need to support one another by modeling a calm and thoughtful response. Staying at home and practicing social distancing, if we must go out, is continuing for a little while longer. It is difficult for many families not being able to gather, as they normally would. Relax during Spring Break and enjoy time with those in your home.
Thank you for supporting the school system and the efforts to help our students through this period. We are blessed with amazing volunteers and community organizations who are also working to make sure children are served.
Be well, stay safe.
Marion County Schools will post relevant news, updates, and guidance for parents, students, teachers, and staff on this page to keep you informed.