Liz McCormick Published

What To Know About Changes To W.Va.’s K-12 Academic Competitions, Events For 2020-2021 School Year

Wooden classroom desks

This is a developing list and may be updated.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of West Virginia’s K-12 academic competitions have seen some changes this year. Some are completely virtual, some have been canceled, and some have seen some rule changes.

Here’s how some of the 2020-2021 school competitions in the Mountain State will look.

Science and Social Studies Fairs

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) reports the West Virginia Science and Engineering Fair and the West Virginia State Social Studies Fair will both be held virtually this school year.

County and regional competitions for these fairs have been canceled, and submissions will move directly from the school to the state-level competition.

If a school chooses to participate, it will need to select a school-level fair contact, and that coordinator will be the primary liaison between the WVDE and the school.

Each participating school will submit one project per grade band to the state for judging. There are three grade bands: 3rd through 5th, 6th through 8th, and 9th through 12th.

These projects are to be considered the school’s “best of fair” and will act as this year’s Science or Social Studies Ambassadors from their county.

All projects will be completed individually this year. No teams or group projects will be allowed. Projects are to be submitted to the WVDE as a 3 to 5-minute video presentation. These can either be a video or voice over PowerPoint. All fair rules still apply.

The West Virginia Science Fair will be held from March 1, 2021 through March 12, 2021. The West Virginia Social Studies Fair will be held from April 5, 2021 through May 6, 2021.

Golden Horseshoe

The Golden Horseshoe Exam will take place this year, but the testing process is still in the planning stages. Specific information will be available mid-November.

Geography Bee

The National Geographic Society has cancelled the 2020-2021 GeoBee.

Young Writers

The Central WV Writing Project plans to conduct the Young Writers competition this school year, but specifics are still being determined. The WVDE’s contact for the project is Barbara O’Byrne:

Office of Technical and Adult Education

The WVDE has suspended all state-level, in-person Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) events through Dec. 31, 2020. These organizations include DECA, Educators Rising, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, JROTC, SkillsUSA and TSA.

Many of these organizations adjusted their strategies from their traditional format of in-person events and were able to conduct their Fall Leadership Conferences remotely, according to the WVDE. Some were held live on a virtual platform, while others delivered content through pre-recorded workshops and by mailing workshop supplies to schools.

In collaboration with the Agricultural and Extension Education faculty at West Virginia University, WV FFA was able to hold three of its career development events virtually.

The Office of Technical and Adult Education has formed a taskforce to prepare a plan for how 2021 will look for CTSO events through virtual, in-person or a hybrid of the two.

Due to the connection with the Department of Defense, JROTC will not hold in-person competitions this school year.