BLUEFIELD, W. Va. (WVVA) - The order for students to return to in-person instruction comes from the top in the form of an executive order from West Virginia's governor.
"I am allowing schools to return to in-person learning for 8th grade and below. Grades nine through twelve will not be in school in the red, and this will be the same for private and Christian schools also," Gov. Justice said.
The plan has the approval of the West Virginia Department of Education.
Its President, Miller Hall, said: "I know our schools are the safest place for many of our children who are part of vulnerable populations."
The statewide plan to get kids back into classrooms means county-wide remote learning for 8th grade and younger no longer exists, regardless of the county alert mapping color-code.
While it seems like a big change, things won't feel too different in some counties.
Mercer County is still following a blended-learning schedule. The same goes in Raleigh County, using the same blended model it has since the school year began. Greenbrier County is also opening at 50% capacity, utilizing blended learning.
While other counties are basing their re-entry plan on employee vaccinations. McDowell County is operating at 25% capacity until all staff members have been vaccinated. Fayette County is following a similar model, not returning to five days a week until vaccinations are complete.
"We have to weigh the safety of the students, the safety of the staff, the safety of our parents, with getting our students the best education we can," Pat Gray, FCBOE President, said.
While other counties are taking full advantage of the new guidelines... Monroe and Wyoming counties are jumping into full in-person learning January 19th.
As for high school students, they will follow the same learning models as their counties, unless the county is red on the DHHR map.