West Virginia Week in Review - September 5, 2020












Gov. Justice leading the way on “monumental” project connecting 121,000 West Virginia homes to world-class broadband




Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice signed an executive order that will allow West Virginia to leverage $766 million over the next 10 years to connect 121,000 West Virginia homes to world-class broadband, particularly those in currently underserved areas across the state. The Federal Communications Commission has created a program called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Through this program, the FCC will direct billions of dollars to finance the deployment of high-speed broadband networks across underserved regions of rural America, connecting millions homes and businesses to world-class broadband access.






Gov. Justice announces $244.3M cash surplus through first two months of FY2021




Gov. Justice announced Thursday that West Virginia has accumulated a $244.3 million cash surplus through the first two months of Fiscal Year 2021, despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy. Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that August 2020 revenue collections came in at $35.8 million above estimates. Year-to-date revenue collections are $80.3 million above estimates and 31.3% above prior year receipts. Total General Revenue Fund collections for the month of August were $331.4 million. Year-to-date collections have totaled $815.4 million.






Gov. Justice establishes $50 million fund to ensure safety of schools




During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he is placing $50 million of CARES Act money into a special fund for PPE, cleaning supplies and, if the need arises, additional testing at schools. This, along with existing resources, will provide schools with the assurance that their needs will be met for the duration of the school year. The fund will also be used for other urgent COVID-19-related equipment and testing needs beyond schools.

The Governor also offered a reminder that, for most counties, the first day of school is still scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

As of Friday, a total of 30 counties were green, while 17 counties were yellow. Six counties were orange: Kanawha, Logan, Mercer, Mingo, Putnam, and Wayne counties. Two counties were red: Monongalia and Monroe counties.




Gov. Justice, Superintendent Burch say "triple-check" underway for safety/sanitization supplies in schools




On Monday, State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch announced that West Virginia education leaders are in the process of “triple-checking” that every classroom in the state has the PPE and cleaning supplies they need to safely begin the school year.

“Our offices are reaching out to all of the principals just to triple-check that those supplies are there and ready,” Superintendent Burch said. “I cannot thank our principals, superintendents, and others enough, and I encourage each and every teacher, please, continue communicating to your principal and your school leadership if you need anything at all. We have a lot of folks here willing to help.”




Gov. Justice announces extension of school meal waivers




Among several school-related updates during Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Justice announced that the United States Department of Agriculture has granted West Virginia an extension of school meal waivers, which will allow the West Virginia Department of Education to continue the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option through December 31, 2020. This extension will ensure that participating schools and private organizations have the flexibility they need to reach children who rely on free and reduced-price school meals.

The waivers cover meals to students in all learning models, including in-person, remote, or virtual, including:

  • Area Eligibility, which allows meals to be provided in areas that don’t meet the 50 percent area eligibility; 
  • Non-Congregate Feeding, which allows meals to be served outside of group settings (meals can be distributed at a site where families pick up the meals, and they can be delivered to children’s homes); 
  • Meal Service Times, which provide flexibility to the meal service time requirements by allowing service outside of standard meal times; and 
  • Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children, which allows a parent or guardian to pick up meals to take home to children.




Gov. Justice directs agencies to establish vaccine preparation task force




On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he has directed the West Virginia National Guard and DHHR to immediately stand up a Vaccine Preparation Task Force so that West Virginia will be prepared when a vaccine for COVID-19 comes. The CDC has instructed the State to have a plan in place by October 1, 2020, in anticipation of a potential vaccine as early as November.




Gov. Justice issues Executive Order closing all bars in Mon County again




On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he has issued an executive order​, once again closing all bars in Monongalia County until further notice. The order was effective immediately. The new closure came two days after bars in Mon County were permitted to open their doors for the first time since mid-July. On Monday, Gov. Justice said that state officials would be watching and monitoring progress closely, adding that if things “start to move in the wrong direction, we’ll shut them back down.” The order keeps all Monongalia County bars closed for the on-premises consumption of food or drinks or occupancy by the general public. However, customers are still permitted to pick up food or drinks to be taken away.




Gov. Justice awards grant to all West Virginia Veterans organizations




On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he will soon provide a combined total of $1.395 million in grants to all Veterans organizations across West Virginia.

“We’ve got 279 Veterans organizations across the state, and we’ve got enough dollars to be able to do this,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve already sent our volunteer firefighters and our EMS providers dollars. Now, we’re going to send all of these Veterans organizations $5,000."




Gov. Justice commits funding for nursing scholarship




On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he is committing $92,500 to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to fully fund the West Virginia Nursing Scholarship Program for this year. This fall, the program awarded nearly 100 students with scholarships ranging from $800 to $4,000. The funds awarded by Gov. Justice will support nursing students at colleges and universities across the state.




Gov. Justice provides update on COVID-19 cases in correctional facilities




On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation is continuing to evaluate Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County. Mount Olive currently has 134 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates. Meanwhile, South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County has four active cases and Western Regional Jail in Cabell County has one active case among their inmate populations. Across the entire DCR system, a total of 33 employees have active cases at this time.




Gov. Justice, Maj. Gen. Hoyer honor World War II veterans on 75th anniversary of V-J Day




Gov. Justice took time out of his briefing Wednesday to honor all World War II veterans – in West Virginia and across the nation – on the 75th Anniversary of the end of the war. On September 2, 1945, formal surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri, designating the day as the official Victory over Japan Day. West Virginia reported the 5th-highest percentage of servicemen during the war, with 218,665 West Virginians serving in the armed forces. A total of 5,830 West Virginians were killed in World War II. Eleven West Virginians were awarded Medals of Honor for their service.




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




WVDE assists counties to prepare for a new school year




As the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) eagerly approaches the start of the new school year, it joins the community in looking forward to a safe re-entry for educators, staff and students. School preparedness is always a concern at the beginning of school, and 2020 is no exception. Increased focus is placed on personal health items and cleaning supplies, and the WVDE will continue to work alongside of counties and schools to ensure these materials are in stock and available throughout the pandemic. County superintendents and school principals have spent months ordering and acquiring supplies in preparation for the first day of school. When needed, the WVDE, West Virginia National Guard and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources have tapped into a variety of supply lines to assist.




Gov. Justice orders flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of former West Virginia Delegate




Gov. Justice issued a proclamation Monday, ordering all United States and West Virginia flags at the Capitol Complex and all state-owned facilities in Monongalia County be displayed at half-staff, from dawn to dusk, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in commemoration of the distinguished life and service of former West Virginia Delegate Shelby J. Bosley Leary. She served three terms in the West Virginia House of Delegates, later serving the state as Director of Wage and Hour and was the first female appointed as the West Virginia Commissioner of Labor.




Gov. Justice signs proclamation for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month






Gov. Justice joins Ball Toyota Family of Dealerships to announce partnerships






Driver's license expiration dates extended through the end of the year




The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles announced Monday that any driver's license, instruction permit, Graduated License (level 1, 2, or 3), or Commercial Driver's License (CDL), as allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), with an expiration date of March 1, 2020 or later, will be extended until December 31, 2020. Identification cards are included in the extension as well.




WVDOH explains how crews repair slides across the state




On Wednesday, the West Virginia Division of Highways released a video explain how their crews repair landslides in the state. WVDOH crews in the video can be seen working on a slide on WV 112 in Mercer County.




WV Guard participates in cybersecurity tabletop exercise




Members of the West Virginia National Guard’s Defensive Cyber Operations Element participated in a multi-day tabletop exercise hosted by the West Virginia Office of Technology to address cybersecurity threats and respond to attacks to statewide cyber infrastructure. Cybersecurity is a growing area of effort across government and private sector organizations as society grows ever more reliant on computerized, web-based cyber functions, including in the areas of banking, utilities management, education and elections. With the growth of reliance on cyber systems, the threat from malicious players who wish to attack systems in order to impact the safety and economies of adversaries also grows.




Summer fishing opportunities still plentiful in WV




The Labor Day weekend might be the unofficial end of summer, but there are plenty of opportunities in the coming months for fishing adventures in the Mountain State, says fish management officials for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. With the long weekend coming up DNR officials would also like to remind anglers and boaters to be safe on the water by wearing a personal flotation device and practicing social distance guidelines at public access sites.




Annual Quilt and Wall Hanging exhibition on display at the Culture Center




The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History’s annual exhibition, Quilts and Wall Hangings 2020, is now on display in the Great Hall of the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex. The Culture Center is currently open to visitors Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the exhibition is free to the public. This year, the popular juried exhibition features 58 creative quilts and wall hangings representing the talents of West Virginians from 19 counties. There are 36 quilts and 22 wall hangings in the exhibition, which will remain on display until Oct. 2, 2020. The exhibition features the work of 45 quilters.



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.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.




Also this week:

WVDEP’s REAP postpones tire collection events due to COVID-19

WV Guardsman graduates Arabic course at Qatar National Language Institute

Coalfield Development Corporation celebrates 10th anniversary (WVDEP)

Recovery Month in West Virginia goes virtual (WVDHHR)

Gov. Justice signs pair of Executive Orders on Friday




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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