If a county were to see substantial community transmission, Gov. Justice, State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch, and the affected county superintendent would work together on additional actions to keep schools safe, including stopping in-person instruction and going to full remote learning if necessary.
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that he has directed the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and State medical experts to work with the WVDE to develop a metric that will be used to indicate when it is safe to go to school and when community transmission rises to a level where additional action may be necessary.
The Governor announced that the metric, which is still in development, will be based on each county’s rate of COVID-19 cases over certain periods of time.
As soon as the metric is finalized, it will be made publicly available. The numbers for each county will be posted to an online dashboard and a map for the public to see.
“Over the next 10 to 14 days or so, we will develop a code system,” Gov. Justice said. “From that, what we’ll do is be able to look at an area and say, ‘This county has this level of the metric and it is beyond what we think is acceptable for the schools to be open.’ From there, in that county at that point in time, we would not have schools open. We would do it all virtually until we get the numbers back down.”
Depending on how each county is performing in the metric, they will each be assigned one of four colors: green, yellow, orange, or red.
Green indicates that a county is experiencing minimal community transmission, allowing counties to operate under general re-entry guidelines while continuing to follow best health practices to prevent the spread of the disease.
Yellow indicates that a county is experiencing moderate community transmission and increased restrictions may be necessary.
Orange indicates that a county is experiencing higher community transmission and further restrictions will be necessary, in collaboration with local health officials.
Red indicates that a county is experiencing substantial community transmission. Under these conditions all in-person instruction would be suspended and remote learning plans would be activated. Staff would continue essential support services, including meals, student engagement, and special education.
Each county’s performance in respect to the safety metric will be continuously evaluated by DHHR and updated on the online dashboard and map resources.