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Six-year-old Danielle Chapman stands with her father, Daniel Chapman, as they meet her kindergarten teacher Kristina Blinn during Altizer Elementary School’s drive-thru open-house event on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — Despite receiving in-person instruction a minimum of two days per week in Cabell County, students will be expected to complete tasks and engage in learning on a five-day basis when school begins Tuesday, Sept. 8, according to district officials.

School closures in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic threw most students, parents and teachers into a remote learning environment without warning, but after months of preparation for the new academic year, expectations will change from that of the spring months.

“Whether in-person or remote, five days of instruction will be provided and learning will be expected,” Assistant Superintendent Kelly Watts said Tuesday during a Cabell County Board of Education meeting. “Teachers will assign tasks to be completed on the remaining remote learning days that reinforce new concept skills learned at school.”

Students and parents or guardians both have new responsibilities as the year begins in the county’s blended model, Watts said, where students will attend on a rotation Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday being a “live learning” remote day.

Each student in the county received, or will receive, an Apple device for the new year, and both parents and students will be required to sign an acceptable use policy regarding internet and usage.

In addition, Watts said parents or guardians need to ensure their child’s access to internet, with assistance from the district if necessary.

“We will be providing information about how parents can gain access to the different access points that we have for internet, but we wanted to make sure that that is an expectation,” Watts said. “For students to stay ahead of the game, they’re going to have to have access at some point, and we’re going to work with them. We told the teachers to really identify that, but we know that expectation has to occur.”

Watts said it’s also important for parents or guardians to facilitate a positive learning environment either at home or another location and encourage students to try their best, both while learning in person or online.

Although official guidance regarding attendance policies has not been released, officials said it will be loosened in light of COVID-19.

For those in the blended model, materials needed for remote instruction will be downloaded before leaving for their final in-person day of the week.

“We want to make sure they are prepared to go into their remote learning,” Watts said. “We want to make sure we have that continuous cycle of the learning process.”

Details and links for parents are online at www.cabellschools.com under “2020-21 Learning Models.”

Follow reporter Hanna Pennington via Twitter @hpennHD.

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