Putnam County Schools District Updates as they relate to the COVID-19 Pandemic

***LATEST UPDATE: OCTOBER 18, 2021***

PUTNAM COUNTY SCHOOLS DISTRICT UPDATES

In response to COVID-19, Putnam County Schools will use this page, along with PCS social media, to communicate up-to-date information district information and updates as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2021-22 school year.

OCTOBER 18, 2021
COVID-19 Booster Shot Vaccine Clinic 

Putnam County Schools has partnered with Fruth Pharmacy to host a Booster Vaccine Clinic for individuals who had the Pfizer vaccine for their first and second shots. No appointment time is required. Please remember to bring your vaccine card and insurance card.

DATE: Friday, October 22, 2021
LOCATION: Hurricane High School
TIME: 2:00 pm-6:00 pm

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
Update to Pandemic Mitigation Measures

The outlined guidance to supplement and reinforce pandemic mitigation measures adopted by the Putnam County Board of Education can be reviewed in full HERE.

The policy enacted by the Board on September 20, 2021, and further expanded at its Special Meeting on September 24, 2021, which takes effect at the end of the school day on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, is intended to optimize the education of Putnam County Schools’ students while following all written mandates of the Putnam County Health Board and Chief Medical Officer.

The Putnam County Health Department is the contact tracing and quarantining authority in accordance with state code. Therefore, all quarantine notifications will come directly from the Putnam County Health Department, rather than Putnam County Schools.


SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
Public Release Following 9.24.21 Putnam County Board of Education Special Meeting 

At a special meeting this morning, the Putnam County Board of Education took action to supplement a universal masking policy approved by unanimous vote earlier in the week. 

Under the universal masking policy enacted on September 20, face coverings are optional for Putnam County students and staff unless, in a school with grades 9-12, 25 percent of students test positive for COVID-19 or, in a school with students in grades K-8, 15 percent of students test positive. Under the policy, once that threshold is met, masks will be mandatory for a school’s students and staff for at least five days, at which time the situation will be reviewed.

Expanding on that policy, the Board of Education today adopted measures to further address quarantine protocols and responses to COVID outbreaks. The measures, which take effect at the end of the day on Tuesday, September 28, are intended to maximize the ability of students to attend schools during the pandemic. 

The Superintendent of Schools is to carry out the universal masking policy and the measures adopted at today’s meeting. 

These are the measures approved by the Board of Education at today’s meeting:

It is the intent of the Board of Education to comply with laws while promulgating the following regarding the motion for Mandating Masks that was approved by a unanimous vote at the Regular Meeting held on September 20, 2021:

  • The policy enacted by the Board on September 20 is intended to optimize the education of our students while following all written mandates of the Putnam County Heath Board and Chief Medical Officer;
  • It is the Board’s Opinion that, in view of the Board’s Universal Masking Policy, contact tracing is unnecessary as per DHHR policy outlined in the WVDE School Recovery and Guidance Document updated September 3, 2021. In addition, the WVDE does not list Putnam County Schools as a county where masks are optional.  Students and staff not wearing a mask at the point of exposure to a positive COVID-19 person, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, are potentially exposed to PCHD contact tracing and possible quarantining. 
  • Quarantine shall be in accordance with DHHR written directions/state code. The Putnam County Health Department has the quarantine authority as quarantining is a codified jurisdiction of the Putnam County Health Department.  Therefore, Putnam County Schools does not have the authority to quarantine students.
  • Employees of the Putnam County Board of Education are not required to perform duties outside regular school hours or required to work overtime to assist the Putnam County Health Department with contact tracing.  Putnam County School Employees will not perform contact tracing on behalf of Putnam County Health Department while COVID Universal Mask Mandate policy is in effect.
  • Establish a COVID positive reporting system/procedure/mailbox/app that administrators utilize to submit positive students names.
  • Utilize one single Putnam County Schools employee that will serve as the reporting agent to the Putnam County Health Department contact.  This employee shall be the Superintendent or his designee and may change as situations warrant.  This is the only employee authorized to communicate student infection/health information to the Putnam County Health Department concerning COVID positive infections.
  • Notifications of COVID positives should be made to the Putnam County Health Department via email/written communication at least by 4:00 pm each school day. 
  • It is the board’s strong preference that, in order to avoid misunderstanding and help ensure compliance, all PCHD recommendations and orders be in written format to pivot from one status to the other. 
  • The policy passed by the Putnam County Board of Education on September does not preclude anyone from wearing a proper health mask as long as the Putnam County Health Department continues to recommend universal mask wearing.
  • As long as individual schools are below 15% threshold for elementary and middle schools and 25% threshold for high schools, no seating charts shall be required or maintained.  Once above the threshold the superintendent could direct seating charts at his direction.

The Superintendent may take other necessary actions and may implement practices, including but not limited to mitigation measures that he deems necessary in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, provided such actions and practices are consistent with the rules and policies of the Board.

PCS 9.24.21 Public Release (PDF Document)

AUGUST 31, 2021
Message to PCS Employees & Families - COVID-19 Vaccination Opportunities 
Putnam County Schools has partnered with Fruth Pharmacy to host two vaccination clinics for unvaccinated students (12 years of age and older), staff members, and adult family members this week. Please note, this is not a booster shot and will be the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration will not be required.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Hurricane High School

Thursday, September 2, 2021, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Poca High School

Additional Reminders:
* Present a copy of an insurance card when checking in at the vaccination clinic.
* All students must complete a consent form, and a parent/guardian must be present with any student 12-15 years of age.

Note: Your school office has both student and adult consent forms to be completed prior to the vaccination clinic. The consent forms may also be obtained by following the below links.

Student COVID-19 Vaccine Consent Form 
Adult COVID-19 Vaccine Consent Form

AUGUST 23, 2021
Message to PCS Employees & Families - Masking Update
At its Special Meeting held Monday, August 23, 2021, the Putnam County Board of Education met to consider whether to leave the decision regarding face coverings/masks up to parents/guardians of students and employees.

The Board voted to approve the current Putnam County Schools (PCS) Roadmap to Recovery Return to School Guide that states masking will not be mandated for PCS students or staff. However, masks are recommended. This was after a review of information received from the Putnam County Health Department (PCHD) whereby the PCHD recommends PCS continue implementing layered prevention strategies, including the wearing of face coverings/masks. 

As indicated in the PCS Roadmap to Recovery Return to School Guide, the Putnam County Board of Education will take additional action, such as masking, if an Executive Order is issued by Governor Jim Justice, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, or the PCHD stating such is mandated.

The comprehensive Roadmap to Recovery Return to School Guide may be found HERE.

*Masking Update Effective 8/23/21

AUGUST 19, 2021
Message to PCS Employees & Families - Update to Roadmap to Recovery School Guide
Putnam County Schools recently released the Roadmap to Recovery Return to School Guide that outlines mitigation measures and prevention strategies for the 2021-2022 school year. As indicated, guidance in the document is subject to change as additional information about the spread and prevention of COVID-19 is known. 

Upon direction by local health officials, Putnam County Schools will require masks for all indoor activities and on buses beginning Friday, August 20 for all students and employees regardless if they have been vaccinated or not. This requirement will be in effect for 30 days and will be reviewed by health officials at the end of this 30-day period. The requirement results from the substantial and high transmission rates in our area, along with monitoring volumes at local hospitals. 

Putnam County Schools is hopeful that this requirement is only temporary and will result in limited positive cases in the school system and, therefore, reduce the number of students/staff positive for COVID-19 and those required to quarantine.

Local health officials indicated that the mask requirement applies to indoor settings and does not include outdoor sporting activities or outdoor events during the school day when social distancing to the greatest extent is possible. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.