West Virginia Week in Review - August 29, 2020












Gov. Justice: High school marching bands, cheerleaders will perform this fall




On Tuesday, Gov. Justice issued a statement concerning performances for High School Marching Bands.

“As a coach and someone who is in our schools all the time, I appreciate how much our extracurricular activities, including our marching bands, mean to our students, parents, and communities. I am now proud to announce that the WVSSAC and our medical experts have developed new guidelines for our marching bands to be able to perform on our football fields this fall."




During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice discussed high school marching bands and their auxiliary groups, as well as cheerleaders, announcing that all of these students will be permitted to perform at high school football games this fall.

Gov. Justice offered additional clarification, announcing that all students that participate in auxiliary extracurricular activities through their respective school’s marching band – such as majorettes, color guard, and, for some schools, dance teams – will all also be allowed to perform at high school football games this fall, provided that they are part of their school’s marching band and that all applicable safety guidelines are followed. The Governor provided further clarification that, as an official WVSSAC sport, cheerleading squads will also be permitted to perform, provided that they follow all safety guidelines from the WVSSAC.




Gov. Justice announces all 55 county school systems have necessary PPE and cleaning supplies to safely begin academic year




During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice explained that, over the past month, the West Virginia Department of Education surveyed all 55 county school systems to determine what PPE and cleaning supplies they had on-hand and what was still needed to begin the school year as safely as possible for students, teachers, service personnel, and local communities. Working with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard, all counties have been contacted and supplies have now either been sent or are in the process of being distributed. As a reminder, Gov. Justice added that West Virginia county school districts have received more than $90 million from the federal and state government to use for school re-entry. Additionally, the Governor announced that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is making a donation of more than $500,000-worth of PPE and cleaning supplies to the WVDE, which will further ensure that these supplies are available to every classroom teacher in West Virginia.




Gov. Justice announces County Alert Map to determine nursing home visitation




During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice and state health leaders announced that West Virginia’s nationally-renowned County Alert System – the color-coded and metric-based map being used to determine school reopenings – will now also be used to indicate the status of nursing home visitation in each county. Nursing homes across the state will begin using the same green-yellow-orange-red color scale to notify the public about visitation protocols. Orange and red counties will not allow visitation, except in cases of compassionate care due to end-of-life or deteriorating physical and/or mental health. Red counties will also restrict activities for residents such as communal dining and non-essential services. Green and yellow counties will permit nursing home visitation with varying levels of safety restrictions. Gov. Justice issued an executive order Monday that will lift his most recent ban on all nursing home visitation, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020; clearing the way for the County Alert System to be used in determining nursing home visitation. However, health officials will continuously monitor nursing homes moving forward, allowing for swift changes if necessary.




Gov. Justice highlights success of indoor face-covering requirement




On Monday, Gov. Justice presented data highlighting the effectiveness of his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement. Since July 7, 2020, the day the Governor’s face covering requirement went into effect, West Virginia has seen a significant decline in its daily rate of positive tests, both on a seven-day rolling average and a 14-day rolling average. On the seven-day rolling average, the daily rate of positive tests peaked at 4.3 percent on July 10. However, in the time since, the daily rate of positive tests have declined to 1.9 percent. On the 14-day rolling average, the daily rate of positive tests peaked at 3.9 percent on July 16 and July 17. However, in the time since, the daily rate of positive tests have declined to 2.2 percent.




And on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia’s statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – was tied for the 4th-best such rate in the country, dropping to 0.86 Wednesday. On Friday, West Virginia was tied for 9th-best in the country at 0.91. If a state’s Rt value is above 1.0, it means the virus will spread quickly, while values under 1.0 mean infections are slowing. West Virginia’s Rt has remained under 1.0 every day since July 6, 2020; the same day that the Governor announced his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement. Wednesday, the Governor spotlighted the steep decline in West Virginia’s Rt value. In mid-June, West Virginia had the worst Rt in the nation. However, in the time since, the state has seen a drastic improvement in this metric.




Gov. Justice: FEMA grant to provide portion of unemployment benefits




On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that FEMA has approved the State’s application for more than $68.2 million in grant funding, which will allow WorkForce West Virginia to continue providing extra unemployment benefits to residents across the state. In total, West Virginians who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will receive an extra $400 per week in unemployment benefits. Of that amount, $300 is being provided by the federal government, while the State is providing the final $100.




Gov. Justice welcomes home more than 140 soldiers after nine-month deployment to Middle East




Gov. Justice greeted more than 140 West Virginia National Guard soldiers Tuesday, returning home after a year spent defending our country, which culminated in a nine-month deployment to the Middle East. In addition to the soldiers in attendance, the Governor congratulated hundreds of their family members, friends, and loved ones during a welcoming home ceremony at Laidley Field in Charleston. The soldiers returning are among the hundreds of West Virginia National Guardsmen and Women who Gov. Justice honored at a deployment ceremony at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center just over one year ago.




Several rounds of deployed West Virginian soldiers have returned home in recent months. Maj. Gen. Hoyer added that today’s ceremony marked one of the West Virginia National Guard’s largest such returns. In the months ahead, many additional soldiers serving in the West Virginia National Guard are scheduled to return home from overseas deployments all around the world.




Gov. Justice hosts virtual meeting with superintendents




After his briefing on Friday, Gov. Justice hosted a virtual meeting with several County school superintendents from across the state to discuss school re-entry plans. During the virtual roundtable, the Governor listened as the superintendents discussed the challenges they are facing ahead of the upcoming school year.

“We want to know exactly what we’re facing during this unprecedented time to make sure we are doing everything in our power to help,” Gov. Justice said.

“We’ve seen some really impressive plans from all of our counties for getting our students back to school,” Gov. Justice continued. “I’m so proud of all you’ve done during these difficult times. I know how much your students mean to each and every one of you. Your commitment to ensuring their safety is off-the-charts and I promise that we’ve going to do everything in our power to help you have as normal and productive of a school year as possible.”




Gov. Justice provides COVID-19 update in correctional facilities




On Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that weekend testing of inmates at Mount Olive Correctional Complex and Jail had resulted in 130 negative results and 24 positive results. The full testing of all facility employees was also completed Wednesday. 

On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that an inmate from the South Central Regional Jail died earlier that day while at an outside hospital, and the preliminary assessment from health officials attributes the cause to complications from COVID-19. The 40-year-old Wood County man was being held on federal charges. He had underlying medical conditions and tested positive for COVID-19 within the past week while at the hospital. His is the first COVID-19-linked death of an inmate ordered to a West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation facility since the start of the pandemic.




Monongalia County bars on track to reopen Monday




On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that Monongalia County bars remain on track to reopen on Monday, August 31. The Governor first announced last week his intention to reopen Mon County bars on this date, provided that case numbers didn’t see a significant increase. Gov. Justice reported Friday that medical experts have confirmed that numbers in the region are stable at this time.

“Our agencies are working on a plan to potentially expand their outdoor space capabilities, especially for the weekend crowds,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re working with them. I’m happy that our businesses are going to be able to go back and reopen. But we’re going to have to stay on top of things and, if we get to a point where we have to back off again, we will.”

Click here to view the supplemental safety guidelines that will be required for the reopening of bars in Monongalia County.




Gov. Justice announces upcoming COVID-19 testing locations




Gov. Justice updated the schedule of upcoming free community COVID-19 testing events taking place over the next several weeks at various dates and times in multiple counties across the state. The effort is part of a plan to provide free optional testing to all residents in several counties that are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission. It targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing.

Counties with upcoming free testing events include:

  • Jackson County
  • Mason County
  • Mineral County
  • Monroe County
  • Nicholas County
  • Webster County




Gov. Justice issues State of Preparedness for Tropical Depression Laura




On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he has issued a State of Preparedness in advance of potential rainfall possible this weekend from Tropical Depression Laura, which made landfall in Louisiana earlier this week as a Category 4 hurricane. This State of Preparedness covers all 55 counties and allows for the mobilization of resources to assist with preparation for any potential flooding or other storm-related damage. Earlier in the week, the Governor announced that he had directed the West Virginia National Guard to closely monitor Laura and to begin preparing for any potential impact it may have on West Virginia. 




Gov. Justice issues proclamation for National Preparedness Month in West Virginia




On Friday, Gov. Justice issued a proclamation, officially declaring September 2020 as National Preparedness Month in West Virginia. FEMA organizes this annual preparedness outreach event each September through their "Ready" campaign.




Gov. Justice celebrates West Virginia Women's Equality Day




On Wednesday, Gov. Justice signed a proclamation declaring August 26, 2020, as West Virginia Women's Equality Day. The day marks the 100th anniversary since the passage of the 19th Amendment — guaranteeing and protecting the constitutional right for women to vote. West Virginia was the 34th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.




30 WV businesses honored for exporting to new countries




Thirty West Virginia companies that grew their business by exporting a good or service to a new country last year were recognized by state officials in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday. During the event, each business received the Governor’s Commendation for International Market Entry Award, which is given to companies that made their first sale to a new country in the previous calendar year. Exports are an important component of West Virginia’s growing economy. In 2019, the state’s exports were valued at $5.9 billion. Since 2002, more than 2,200 export awards have been presented to more than 170 companies for selling products to nearly 200 countries. This year, West Virginia businesses from 17 counties received the award for exporting goods and services to 60 countries.




WVDNR improving access sites on Elk River for anglers, boaters




The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is upgrading public access sites along the Elk River in Kanawha County and adding several new locations near Charleston where anglers and kayakers can put a boat into this popular waterway. Work is underway on new access sites in Clendenin and Big Chimney. Additionally, upgrades are being made to existing sites along the river. The agency will also close the access site at Blue Creek and build a larger, more accessible site located upstream. The current site at Mink Shoals will be closed so a new site across the river at Coonskin Park can be built. Each access site is located between four and six miles apart to spread out fishing pressure and make it easier for the WVDNR to perform maintenance in future years.




Gov. Justice announces $1.1 million in STOP Violence Against Women Act Grants




Gov. Justice announced Tuesday that he has awarded $1,129,924.00 in STOP Violence Against Women grant program funds to 27 projects across West Virginia. The purpose of these funds is to establish or enhance teams whose core members include victim service providers, law enforcement, and prosecution to improve the criminal justice system's response to violence against women. Grants provide personnel, equipment, training, technical assistance, and information systems for the establishment or enhancement of these teams. Additionally, statewide projects are funded to provide training and educational opportunities for all victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecution, and court personnel throughout the state.

These funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, and are administered by the Division of Administrative Services, Justice and Community Services.




DHHR awarded $43.7 Million to combat opioids




The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will receive $43.7 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to continue its efforts in combatting the opioid crisis. This is the first distribution of SAMHSA’s funds of its two-year State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program. Through SOR, states are funded to develop tailored approaches to prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid use disorders. The program provides access to lifesaving, evidence-based medication to treat opioid use disorders, along with psychosocial services and community supports.




WVNDR announces special urban deer archery season opens Sept. 5




The start of West Virginia’s archery and crossbow deer season is still a few weeks away, but hunters can get in the woods starting Sept. 5 when special deer archery hunts become available in municipalities around the state. These urban deer archery hunts, coordinated by cities, towns, homeowner associations and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, provide additional hunting opportunities and help control deer populations. The season will run through Dec. 31 and include a split on January 11-31, 2021.




WVDNR showcases latest work on new wildlife education center




This week, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources shared a video taking a look at some of the latest construction for the new Claudia L. Workman Wildlife Education Center in Kanawha County. WVDNR is partnering with the Forks of Coal State Natural Area Foundation to build a state of the art wildlife education facility. You can support and be a part of this incredible project by participating in the “Buy a Brick. Build a Legacy” program.




West Virginians urged to participate in the 2020 Census




Once more, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census. Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

As of Friday, West Virginia boasted the 2nd-best U.S. Census response rate in the country. West Virginians are able to complete the Census until Sept. 30, 2020.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.




Also this week:

Don’t pay, enjoy the Labor Day holiday: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over (GHSP)

Public Defender Services announces recipients of annual awards

Deadline approaching for submissions for Roadsides in Bloom calendar contest (WVDEP)





Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

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304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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