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Gov. Justice unveils ‘color-coded’ system for West Virginia’s return to school

(WVVA) - On Friday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice unveiled his "color-coded" return-to-school system.

Counties will earn, daily, either a green, yellow, orange or red rating. That rating will be determined by a seven-day rolling average of daily new positive COVID-19 cases -- based on a population of 100,000 people.

The ratings will be determined as such:

  • GREEN: 0-7 cases per 100,000 people
  • YELLOW: 8-15 cases per 100,000 people
  • ORANGE: 16-24 cases per 100,000 people
  • RED: 25+ cases per 100,000 people
via West Virginia Department of Education

Any county that is in the green or yellow phase come September 8 will be allowed to begin the school year with in-person instruction. However, counties that find themselves in the orange or red phase in the days leading leading up to the re-opening will be required to begin the school year through fully-virtual instruction.

"The reason we've done this is because we don't want to set you up for automatic failure," Governor Justice said. "We think if you're in the orange, you've got to get out of the orange in order to be able to have extracurricular activities, or to open the school safely."

All in-person instruction, at either public or private/Christian schools, will be stopped immediately if a county reaches the red phase.

The only counties in orange at this time are Grant and Mingo Counties. Logan County is currently in the red phase.

Locally, Fayette, Mercer, McDowell, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties are in the yellow phase, according to the West Virginia DHHR's website. Greenbrier and Monroe Counties are in the green phase.

via West Virginia DHHR

Governor Justice also announced how cases at nursing homes and correctional facilities will be accounted for in the system.

We're going to rate the inmate or the residents of a nursing home facility, or-or that type of facility, as a one," he explained. "So, if we have an outbreak of residents at a particular nursing home, they're going to only count as one in the county, you know, green, yellow, orange, red calculation."

"And the staff members-- however many staff members are infected are going to count at 50% of the level of the total staff members," he continued. "So in other words if there were 40 staff members. You know, that were affected, 20 would be your number that you would use."

For an explanation on how this will alter athletics and extracurricular activities, click here.

WVVA will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Nick Dugan

Sports Director

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