Return to classroom still up in the air\r\n\r\nSuzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nEach day is a new day and with it comes new achievements and new challenges. Since Pocahontas County Schools closed March 20 due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the staff has focused on the needs of the students \u2013 both academically and nutritionally.\r\n\r\nStudents have been working on snow packets, as well as with teachers online to keep their instruction going, and the staff has delivered meals to keep the students healthy.\r\n\r\nThis week, the plan changed a little and superintendent Terrence Beam says that even though things are different, the school system is still focused on the well-being of the students.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re going to be dispersing containers from our three sites \u2013\u00a0Hillsboro, Green Bank and Marlinton Elementary schools \u2013 a packet of five meals, which will be for Tuesday through Monday,\u201d Beam said. \u201cThat doesn\u2019t include the weekend, of course, but it will be five meals for students.\u201d\r\n\r\nAt this time, the school system is no longer using buses to deliver meals, but it will continue to provide meals at the three aforementioned sites.\r\n\r\nAcademically, teachers are thinking outside the box and finding ways to reach their students to make sure they understand the materials they are studying at home.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve asked teachers to contact each of their students at least once a week to see how they\u2019re doing,\u201d Beam said. \u201cSome of the teachers are doing one-on-one things online with the kids, which they feel really good about. So, we\u2019re going to continue to do that.\u201d\r\n\r\nSince plans for the future are fuzzy right now \u2013 with changes being made on a daily basis as Governor Jim Justice updates the state each day \u2013\u00a0Beam said there are still a lot of unanswered questions, but for now, things will continue as they are for the foreseeable future.\r\n\r\nAll West Virginia school superintendents took part in a conference call last week, and while there was a lot to discuss, they did not touch on when schools might be back in session.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn the last few meetings we had, it hasn\u2019t even come up as a topic,\u201d Beam said. \u201cThe main topics that we\u2019ve been talking about are \u2018how do we deliver instruction\u2019 and \u2018how do we continue to feed our kids without putting our employees in harm\u2019s way.\u2019 That\u2019s been the discussion.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think anything else would be a little presumptuous right now,\u201d he continued. \u201cI\u2019m very hopeful that they won\u2019t just say, \u2018we\u2019re done for the year.\u2019 Do I think that it\u2019s a possibility? I certainly do, but I\u2019d hate for them to do that and then turn around and find out a month down the road that we could have had another month of school.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeam said he feels for the students right now because they are going through a difficult time in which they are losing out not only on their education, but their social interactions which are just as important.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur kids are missing out, not only on the academic part, but the social part of being around their friends,\u201d he said. \u201cOur high school seniors\u00a0\u2013\u00a0going through graduation and their senior prom\u00a0\u2013 those things are big deals. I hope they don\u2019t just throw that all away at one time.\r\n\r\n\u201cAll we can do is try to do the best we can with what we have,\u201d he continued. \u201cI don\u2019t like to see kids go hungry, it\u2019s one of the things that I hate the most, but also, I have a responsibility to our employees to not put them in harm\u2019s way.\u201d\r\n\r\nDespite not knowing what will happen next, Beam said the staff has done an incredible job adjusting and working together for the sake of the students.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve got some great employees that have stepped up and complained very, very little about anything we\u2019ve asked them to do,\u201d he said. \u201cLori Doolittle and Ruth Bland worked with the transportation and food service, and they\u2019ve just done a phenomenal job, and they\u2019re both worn out.\u201d\r\n\r\nEven if the school year is shortened and students don\u2019t return to the classroom, Beam said they will still try to do some of the positive programs that recognize the students and staff for their achievements.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re still going to recognize our Super Scholars and our Teachers and Service Personnel of the Year,\u201d he said. \u201cWe might not have the ceremony, but we\u2019re still going to recognize them.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeam will give a weekly update on school information to The Pocahontas Times.