How are elementary schools in West Virginia staying safe this school year?


CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) — A big concern for many parents is how their children will be safe in school, especially for those who still can’t get the vaccine.

Altizer Elementary School in Cabell County is doing many things to keep their students safe, including hand sanitizer stations and social distancing protocols.

“At this point in Cabell County, masks are recommended but not required so we have offered them to students but it is up to the discretion of the student and the family as to whether or not they wear them,” said James Wagner a counselor at Altizer Elementary School.

In addition to their safety guidelines, they also have hired a COVID-19 response custodian, who sprays their building with a COVID killing disinfectant.

“This is the fastest COVID neutralizer that they had found, so it’s safe and its staff kid-friendly, so as soon as we spray it, it dries, so when the kids do come back in, they’re not sitting in a wet spot,” said Chris Martin, the COVID response custodian.

“It doesn’t hurt their clothes; it doesn’t hurt them to breathe it in. So we use this in classrooms, bathrooms, anything that you want to spray and if a kid would get sick, the whole room would get sprayed with this as well,” Martin went on to say.

Wagner adds, in-person instruction is vital for this age group.

“I think for every level but especially these children, they got to socialize they have got to have the opportunity to be together, to have a teacher where they can develop repour, get to see what they do well, where they struggle, how we can help them grow and to get to do that with a group of children whom they get to know is something that you can’t replace,” said Wagner.

Although Martin plays a vital role in keeping the school open, he says it has really been a team effort between teachers and staff.

“They play their role in social distance, just as well as I spray, so it’s not just me, it’s a snowball effect, everyone does their own part to make everyone safe.”

Cabell County started classes on Aug. 18, and the school board voted last Thursday to make masks optional for students.

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