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Private schools vs. public schools: officials say there’s been an increase in enrollment due to COVID-19

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 8:38 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - As more updates come from public school representatives and Gov. Jim Justice, private schools are operating more so on their own terms.

Principal Melissa Mohr of Heritage Christian school mentioned some of the benefits of being a private school when it comes to having students return for a new school year during the pandemic.

It will look a lot different from public schools. Class sizes are already traditionally smaller, and there’s more flexibility to create guidelines that fit their school.

”We don’t have as many people moving around the building, we don’t have as many kids that are going to be passing in the hallway,” Mohr said. “So just our size causes us to be able to open and stay open,” she said.

This is also the case at Notre Dame High school, which is also a private entity in the area.

“It will still be a very good and productive school year for our students,” the newly appointed principal, Kelly Light said.

Light also stated that regardless if they have to switch to remote learning, based off of the number of positive cases in Harrison County, they will still have the flexibility to operate compared to public schools.

“They’re education will not suffer as a result and we will make every effort to make this year special for them and give them chances to connect with one another and incorporate the face component into their education,”she said.

With the effort to keep students in the classrooms amongst different private schools, this has attracted more families to get them enrolled due to jobs and other responsibilities that would make it almost impossible to do virtual or remote learning.

“We are up about 20 students from last year and we have other students that are coming to tour and have started the application process online,” Mohr said.

On the flip side, several families have had to pull their children out of private school for other reasons.

“Some are due to moving because of jobs and some are because their finances would just not allow that,” Mohr said.

Even with the assistance Heritage tries to help provide students that are in a financial situation, Mohr said in the case of COVID-19, it’s not as helpful to some as it has been in the past.

However, regardless of what parents choose to do, all faculty and staff have one common goal.

“We’ve made so many changes to our everyday life typically here at Heritage Christian that we’re very confident that we can do our very best to keep them safe and healthy,” Mohr said.

Students at Heritage will begin classes on September 8th, the same day as public schools.

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