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Justice announces changes to in-person instruction, vaccine distribution

UPDATE 12/31/20 - Governor Jim Justice is urging patience after announcing that the COVID-19 vaccine would be available to members of the general population that are 80+.

A long line of residents formed outside the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department after the announcement, according to NBC affiliate WSAZ.

"West Virginians are urged not to show up at local health departments or National Guard armories for vaccination unless a vaccination clinic for those age 80 and older is scheduled," a statement from the Governor's Office reads. "Please do not overwhelm pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, or the COVID-19 hotline by calling repeatedly."

Vaccination clinics have not yet been scheduled, according to the Governor's Office. Times, dates and locations are expected to be announced soon.

Stick with WVVA for further developments.

WEST VIRGINIA (WVVA) - Several changes to in-person instruction and the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan were unveiled during Governor Jim Justice's Wednesday press briefing.

Among the announcements were changes to the in-person instruction schedule at West Virginia schools. Justice announced that all elementary and middle schools will return to the classroom, 5 days a week, on January 19th, 2021.

High schools - in counties that are not in the red category on the County Alert System - will also return on the 19th. High schools will continue to use the map system, attending in-person 5 days a week, as long as their county is not in red.

The revisions mean the WV Department of Education's Saturday Education Map will no longer be published. Instead, the WV DHHR County Alert System Map will guide high school in-person instruction plans.

The 100% virtual learning model is still an option, according to State Superintendent Clayton Burch.

Winter sports have again been postponed, and will now begin on March 1.

With the return to school, Justice announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to teachers and school staff immediately, prioritizing those over the age of 50.

Another change to the vaccination plan includes vaccinating the elderly. Justice announced that vaccinations for the general population, ages 80+, will begin as soon as Wednesday (Dec. 30).

"We will save lives today," Justice said.

Locations, dates and times of vaccination events will be announced soon. Justice says they are expected as soon as next week, and will be first-come first-serve.

This story is developing. Stick with WVVA for further updates.

Jade Burks

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