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Back to virtual learning
WCHS, WCMS return to online instruction
Virtual learning.jpg
Pictured are sixth-graders on a monitor during a virtual instruction language arts class at WCMS in November.

Warren County High School and Warren County Middle School students will be taking class virtually beginning tomorrow, Dec. 14, until their return from Christmas break Jan. 4.

The decision comes on the heels of a meeting between Director of Schools Grant Swallows and school principals throughout the system on Friday afternoon to decide the best course of action regarding instruction.

After seeing all of the stats and figures, the decision was made to temporarily stop in-person instruction at the two schools most affected by COVID-19: WCMS and WCHS.

Tuesday began with 46 positive cases of COVID-19 in the school system, but sharply rose to 76 by Friday with 70% of the active cases belonging to the two schools.

This will make the second time WCMS and WCHS have gone virtual as a mitigation strategy. Of the previous move to virtual schooling, Swallow said, “Before Thanksgiving break, both of those schools went to all-remote learning and did well in that environment.”

Swallows assures parents the VIP program has improved since it began and continues to do so. 

“It was a struggle for the teachers at first but they’ve gotten into a routine and gotten better with being able to communicate,” he said. “It is also the same for students. They’re not used to learning in this environment. Kids are used to the class, the bell and moving around. At home, it’s not there.”

School employees have carried a sense of responsibility in keeping kids in school throughout the pandemic. Bus drivers from as far as Memphis have been coming in to keep bus routes going, according to Swallows. 

“Our employees have had the outlook that we have to do what we have to do to keep our kids in school,” he said, “We’ve kept a very conservative approach. Some around us have been going five days. It helped us be in not as bad of shape. We have really addressed that and been proactive. Not just the school system is seeing shortages. Everywhere is seeing shortages.”

Also affected by the move to online instruction are the athletics and extracurricular departments in the Warren County School System. All activities within those departments are halted until at least 2021. 

“If things are better, athletics would return to play on Jan. 4,” said Swallows.

Swallows reminds parents that students should know what is expected of them in the move to online instruction, such as logging in on time to be considered present. Students who do not attend their virtual classes will be marked as absent. 

Lunches for those who are interested will be furnished at each school between 12 and 1 p.m. for pick up.

“If people want kids to be in school, we have to be proactive and wear our masks and have good hygiene,” said Swallows. “If we all pull together and do that, we have a good chance of doing that, but if we don’t then we have to make some hard decisions.”