The West Virginia Department of Education performed the weekly update of the color-coded county map on Saturday, November 7. There are no changes to Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties for the week beginning Monday, November 9. Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties remain designated as green, while Monroe County has been downgraded to yellow.
As a point of reference, the most recent update provided by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources also shows Monroe County has been downgraded to yellow, while the Harvard risk level assessment model has all three counties designated as orange. The school alert color-coded county map provided by the WVDE every Saturday at 5 p.m. determines each county’s official education-status for the upcoming week. The DHHR map, which is updated every day, is strictly for informational purposes.
As Pocahontas County Superintendent of Schools said several weeks ago, “the daily map is the progress report, but the Saturday update is the report card.”
As new cases of COVID-19 continue to be identified across the state in record numbers, the method by which extracurricular and sports-activities are regulated has recently been called into question.
The only time the DHHR map would supersede the WVDE map is if a county were to be upgraded to a red designation in the middle of the week. In that situation, the restrictions of a red designation are immediately imposed.
During his November 6 coronavirus response media-briefing, Governor Jim Justice addressed these concerns, saying, “I called our experts and I told them to look at this independent of me, knowing we have teams and kids in the middle of playoffs, and come back to me with a recommendation. I want us to make the very best decisions for the people of this great state, knowing these decisions are dog-flat tough. At the end of the day, based on the recommendations of the health professionals, they feel they have to continue using the existing education map and DHHR County Alert Map to guide us through the decisions on these counties.”
A joint statement from W.Va. Superintendent Clayton Burch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch, State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad, WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan and coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh was released on Friday, November 6.
The statement reads, “The West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC), the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and the State Coronavirus Czar understand the importance of sports and extracurricular activities to our education system. However, during this pandemic, we all agree the health of our students must be the top priority.
“While there have been interest and inquiries into changing the state’s metrics and protocols and allowing student athletes to participate in upcoming tournament play, we cannot sideline student health.
“Based on the recommendation of health professionals, WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan and WVDE Superintendent Clayton Burch will continue to support the use of the Saturday Education Map and DHHR County Alert System Map to guide decisions on which counties may participate in upcoming tournaments.
These are difficult decisions; however, they are decisions that must be made.”
Meal distribution will continue this week. In Monroe County, meal pick-up will occur on Friday, November 13 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sign-up links can be found on the Monroe County Schools Facebook page. In Greenbrier County, meal pick-up will take place on Tuesday, November 10, at each county middle and high school location. Meal pick-up will occur between noon. and 1 p.m.