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Governor Justice says West Virginia public schools will reopen in January

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 12:39 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 1:08 PM EST
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CHARLESTON W.Va. (WTAP) - Governor Jim Justice says elementary and secondary public schools will reopen January 19.

Citing an overall low rate of COVID-19 transmission in school buildings-especially among younger students-the governor repeated something he has said recently in nearly all of his briefings: “We need to be back in school”.

High school students, according to the governor, have a higher rate of transmission of the virus, but he says high schools will also reopen according to the weekly color-coded map. He added, however, in-person learning will be allowed in counties in the “orange” level. Previously, counties above the “yellow” level had to do learning virtually.

The governor, however, postponed the start of winter sports until March 1.

“A third of our students are failing in core classes”, Justice said, referring to virtual learning all schools went to after the start of the pandemic last March, and to which several have reverted during the fall when reported virus cases surged.

Justice reported the transmission rate among students is .02%, and .03% among staff. He said vaccines will be offered to all school employees 50 years of age and older.

Clayton Burch, State Superintendent of Schools, said virtual learning will continue when schools reopen after the holiday break, going to in-person learning in mid-January. He added mask-wearing, social distancing and deep cleaning will go on once school buildings open.

Justice also said higher education will resume January 19 to counties not in the “red” on the state map.

The governor, in his last briefing of 2020, said vaccinations of people 80 years of age and older will begin immediately. They will be administered through primary care facilities and local health departments.

This is an ongoing story. More information will follow.

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