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Education Map Update Reflects Changes For County Schools

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The West Virginia Department of Education updated their color-coded county map on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 14. Greenbrier, Pocahontas and Summers Counties remain designated as green this week, while Monroe and Mercer Counties are designated as yellow. Fayette County is designated as orange, meaning that all in-person learning and athletic competitions are suspended for the week beginning Monday, Nov.16.

Active coronavirus outbreaks have been reported at the Green Bank Middle-Elementary School in Pocahontas County, and Jumping Branch Elementary School in Summers County. The schools have reported two cases and seven cases of COVID-19, respectively.

Currently, Fayette County has an infection rate of 34.36%. This is up considerably from last weekend’s 17.52%. At 4.99%, the county’s percent positive is holding fairly stable. In Mercer County, the infection rate has increased from 24.56% on Saturday, Nov. 8 to 31.61% presently. At 3.17%, Mercer County’s percent positive is also remaining stable. Monroe County is still experiencing a decrease in the spread of COVID-19. The county’s infection rate has dropped to 17.22%, while their percent positive holds at 3.39%. In Summers County, the infection rate is 14.77%, and the percent positive is 1.71%. Both infection rate and percent positive have increased in Greenbrier County since last weekend, now at 23.08% and 2.81% respectively. And Pocahontas County has remained consistent and free of any significant fluctuations in their numbers. The county’s infection rate is 7.80%, while their percent positive is 1.75%.

Greenbrier County has struggled in recent weeks, as a rash of COVID-19 infections has forced several county schools to transition to full remote-learning.

Through a social media post on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 15, Greenbrier County Schools stated, “As COVID diagnoses are increasing in our county, please be sure to do the daily checklist with your child. Find the checklist and other resources on the re-entry page at greenbriercountyschools.org.”

In Fayette County, the upgrade to an orange designation on the color-coded county map prompted Superintendent Gary Hough to issue a statement on the county’s Facebook page.

“This message is to inform you that, unfortunately, Fayette County has moved to orange in the color coded map,” Hough wrote, on Saturday, Nov. 14. “All students will work from home, due to yesterday’s announcement, from Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 until Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. We will begin blended learning again on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Please remember that Thanksgiving week we are already scheduled for remote learning and students are not expected to be completing assignments on Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27 as these are holidays for everyone. On Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, we will be making announcements concerning times for pick-up of meal packs for your children from ages toddler to 18-years. In addition, we are not permitted to have athletic contests this week, but conditioning practices for football and cheerleading may continue as directed by the WVDE. Lastly, please call your school if you have any remote learning problems. Please listen carefully to all the messages you receive.”

Mercer County Schools also made an announcement via social media.

A Facebook post dated Saturday, November, 14 stated. “Mercer County Schools is YELLOW on the WVDE’s metric map. The following schedule will be followed for the week of Nov. 16 – 20:

All Elementary students will attend school five days a week.

All Middle and High school students will follow Blended Model B.

Monday, 11/16: L – Z. Tuesday, 11/17: A – K; Wednesday, 11/18: L – Z. Thursday, 11/19: A – K; Friday, 11/20: L – Z.

Princeton Middle School and Princeton High School will be remote on Monday, Nov.16. Pike View Middle School’s 8th grade will be remote until further notice.”

During his Friday, November 13, coronavirus response media-briefing West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that he had issued a new executive order regarding schools.

Under the governor’s order, the start of winter-season sports have been postponed until Monday, January 11, 2021. However, fall-season sports will be permitted to complete their current seasons under the current guidelines set forth by the W.Va. Department of Education. In addition, schools must remain closed from Thanksgiving day on Thursday, November 26, through Wednesday, December 2. This order applies to all schools in each of West Virginia’s 55 counties.

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