|SCHOOLS IN ORANGE COUNTIES TO MOVE TO REMOTE INSTRUCTION|
Citing rising case numbers during his Friday COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Justice announced that, going forward, schools in counties designated as orange in the West Virginia Department of Education’s official 5 p.m. Saturday update of the County Alert Map will stop in-person instruction and move to a full-remote learning model.
“We've got to continue to work together as West Virginians because our numbers are going the wrong way,” Gov. Justice said. “We've got to continue to try to protect the health and the safety of all West Virginians. And, in my opinion, it is not safe, with our numbers trending the way they are, to continue to go to school if we’re in orange.”
Athletic and extracurricular activities will be limited to conditioning only when a county is orange. No sport-specific or contact practices will be permitted. Marching band activities must be limited to outdoors only. Instruments are permitted only when students are stationary and distanced in pods. The WVSSAC will release additional guidance documents soon.
A mid-week color status change from green or yellow to orange, as reported on the DHHR Dashboard, would not immediately trigger these restrictions. Countywide restrictions under an orange designation only take effect if a county is classified as orange on the WVDE’s official Saturday map update.
These restrictions will only be lifted if and when a county reaches green or yellow status in a subsequent official Saturday map update.
Mid-week color status only comes into play if a county reaches a red designation. If a county reaches red status, all in-person activities are halted immediately, regardless of the day of the week.
The change comes as a result of increases in several categories of COVID-19 numbers. Additionally, West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – increased Friday afternoon to 1.42; the highest and worst such rate in the country.
“We’ve all got to step up our level of concern,” Gov. Justice said. “To just tell it like it is, we've got to get afraid again. We’ve gotten complacent.
“If we don't watch out, it'll come home to some families tomorrow,” Gov. Justice continued. “Those families are full of real people. They have names. They’re West Virginians. All of us have got to take responsibility.”