West Virginia Week in Review - September 12, 2020












Gov. Justice announces orange counties will move to remote instruction




Citing rising case numbers during his Friday COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Jim 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. 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.




Gov. Justice welcomes students back for first day of school




During his briefing on Tuesday – the first day of classes for Pre-Kindergarten-12 students across West Virginia – Gov. Justice took time to thank everyone who has played a role in getting the state’s education system back up and running. Schools in 46 of the state’s 55 counties were permitted to resume in-person instruction Tuesday, with the remaining nine counties beginning the 2020-21 academic year on a fully-remote basis.




Last Saturday at 9 p.m, the West Virginia Department of Education released this week’s color-coded School Re-Entry Map update. State health leaders who make up the COVID-19 Data Review Panel verified the data to ensure the map was a true indication of the safety level in each county. As of Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, a total of 27 counties were green, while 19 counties were yellow.

Before the map was released, the COVID-19 Data Review Panel, responsible for verifying the data utilized in the map, reviewed data from a public health perspective to determine the accuracy and reliability of the data to ensure they are a true indication of what’s occurring among counties across West Virginia.




Gov. Justice commemorates September 11, issues flag order




On Friday, during a graduation ceremony for the West Virginia State Police cadet class, Gov. Justice participated in a bell-ringing to commemorate lives lost in the 9/11 attacks. During the event, Gov. Justice and the parents of Dr. Paul Ambrose rang a ceremonial bell four times in honor of each of the four planes that crashed on that fateful day and all who lost their lives in the attack.

“This is a day that will live with us forever,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s hard to believe that 19 years have passed. It seems like it was just yesterday when I got the call."

Also on Friday, Gov. Justice announced that, in honor of all West Virginia heroes, past and present he has issued a proclamation, officially declaring this coming Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, as Heroes Day in West Virginia.




In observance of Patriot Day, to honor the memory of the Americans lost on September 11, 2001, and to pay tribute to all of the patriots who have sacrificed their lives in the defense of our freedom, Gov. Jim Justice issued a proclamation – in accordance with President Donald J. Trump’s proclamation – ordering that all United States and West Virginia flags on all State-owned facilities be displayed at half-staff the entire day; Friday, September 11.




Gov. Justice announces nearly 850 Kids Connect WiFi locations online




On Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that 848 free WiFi access locations have been activated across the state through the Governor’s Kids Connect initiative. Kids Connect is a joint effort between the Governor’s Office of Technology, the WVDE, and the Higher Education Policy Commission to establish over 1,000 free wireless internet access points at Pre-K-12 schools, libraries, higher education facilities, National Guard armories, and State Parks in all 55 counties statewide to ensure that every West Virginia student who needs internet access to complete remote work is able to do so.




Gov. Justice moves up Saturday release time for County Alert System map




On Wednesday, Gov. Justice and State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch announced that, in an effort to provide more preparation time for students, parents, teachers, and service personnel, the release time for the West Virginia Department of Education’s Saturday County Alert Map has been moved up to 5 p.m.

For the past two weeks, the map had been released at 9 p.m.




Gov. Justice announces additional COVID-19 testing locations




Gov. Justice also 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. However, other residents, including those who are asymptomatic are welcome to be tested.

Click here to view dates and additional details




Gov. Justice honors graduates of West Virginia State Police’s 68th Cadet Class




Gov. Justice spoke at a graduation ceremony Friday for the West Virginia State Police’s 68th Cadet Class. The event, which was held in the theater of the State Culture Center in Charleston, celebrated the successful graduation of 32 new cadets from the West Virginia State Police training course. It marked the third State Police cadet class graduation since November 2018. Before that, the WVSP had not graduated any new cadet classes for nearly four full years.




First Lady Cathy Justice presents Rhododendron Awards to three Communities In Schools site coordinators




First Lady Cathy Justice presented a series of Rhododendron Awards Thursday to a trio of site coordinators for the Communities In Schools program across West Virginia. The First Lady’s Rhododendron Award recognizes individuals in West Virginia who have demonstrated goodness and worked for the betterment of their communities. In particular, this award seeks to recognize the “unsung heroes” throughout West Virginia, whose work has made a significant difference in the lives of others. Kathy Brunty of Westside High School in Wyoming County, Mike Mullins of Clay County High School, and Carla Snell of Huntington High School in Cabell County were all honored with the award during a virtual ceremony in Charleston Thursday.




Gov. Justice sends Labor Day message to West Virginians




On Monday, Gov. Justice released a video message wishing all West Virginians a Happy Labor Day. The Governor said West Virginia has some of the hardest working, most reliable employees in the world.




First Lady Cathy Justice accepts $25,000 check from DTE Energy in support of Communities In Schools program




First Lady Cathy Justice joined Deputy State Superintendent of Schools Michele Blatt on Thursday to accept a $25,000 check from DTE Energy at the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston. Communities In Schools aims to forge community partnerships and bring resources into schools to help remove barriers to student learning with the goal of keeping all students in school and ultimately graduating. First Lady Justice and Gov. Jim Justice started CIS in three counties in 2018. Since then, the program has expanded to 23 counties, serving more than 30,000 students in 109 schools across the state.




Gov. Justice signs PREVENTS Day proclamation






FEMA ends Lost Wages Assistance, WV unemployment benefits continue




On Friday, WorkForce West Virginia Acting Commissioner Scott Adkins announced that FEMA has ended its Lost Wages Assistance Program, which provided an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits to qualified claimants in West Virginia and other states.

WorkForce West Virginia will continue to pay eligible claimants for as long as existing FEMA funds are available, but agency officials say they are unable to extend the additional benefits beyond the benefits week ending on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.




COVID-19 response reaches 180-day milestone for WV Guard




On Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to recognize and thank the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard, who have now been actively responding to the pandemic for 180 consecutive days.

“They’ve done great stuff,” Gov. Justice said. “They continue to run to the fire all over the place."

At the height of this response, more than 700 Guard members were activated to conduct a multitude of missions, which have been focused along a key set of efforts: operationalizing the event, stabilization of the population, data and analytics support, logistical movement of critical supplies, and innovation. Currently, 330 WVNG personnel remain on duty responding to the pandemic.




WVDOT releases another $12 million in purchase order paving




On Wednesday, the West Virginia Department of Transportation released another round of purchase order paving projects totaling nearly $12 million. These 45 projects are ready to pave now, with all preliminary work such as drainage, ditching, and pothole patching already completed earlier in the season. The work is scheduled to begin within the next two weeks.




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, 98.1 percent of West Virginians have been counted. For perspective, during the last Census in 2010, the state’s final response rate was just 74 percent.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.




Also this week:

WVDOT reminds public of SWAT roadwork request hotline

WVNG releases important payroll information for military members and civilian employees

Emergency Amendment to Legislative Rule 64 CSR 48: Emergency Medical Services Requiring Use of Face Masks During Pre-Hospital Patient Encounters (DHHR)




Contact Information

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


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

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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