CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During Friday’s news briefing, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice released further details on the color-coded school alert system that was announced earlier this month.
The system will be based on a seven day rolling cumulative average, with each county marked as green, yellow, orange or red. The maps will be released every Saturday at 9:00 p.m., but the colors will be updated daily. If they change, the colors will probably go from one level to another, not jump levels, Justice said.
The system will use a percentage based on a per 100,000 people basis, the governor said.
Counties with fewer than seven cases per 100,000 people will be green, 8–15 cases per 100,000 people will be yellow, 16–24 cases per 100,000 people will be orange and 25 cases or more per 100,000 people will be red, Justice explained.
If a county is “red,” its schools will be 100% virtual, the governor said. Orange and red counties will not be able to open for in-person learning until get they get to yellow or green, according to Justice. He does not want to set counties up for failure, Justice said. Counties that are red will have to be prepared to feed students at home, state education officials said.
Red counties will not be able to participate in sports, while orange counties will have no sports competitions, but practices will be allowed, according to Justice. While colors will be updated daily, athletic events will based on the weekly numbers released on Saturday evenings, unless a county goes to red, in which case, in person school and sports will be immediately shut down, the governor explained. Limited spectators will be allowed for athletic events in green and yellow counties, but specific plans are not available yet, WVSSAC officials said.
Private schools will be shut down for in-person learning, as well, if the county they are located in goes red, Justice said. Private schools will follow the same athletic guidelines as public schools, according to the governor.
Using those metrics, Grant, Logan and Mingo counties are the only ones in West Virginia that would fall into orange or red categories.
When tabulating these numbers, outbreaks at correctional facilities and nursing homes will only count as “1” and staff members will be counted at a 50% rate, Justice said.
Justice said the color-coded metric will motivate West Virginians to keep their counties in green or yellow categories.
Further information can be found on the West Virginia Department of Education’s website.
After mentioning the four latest COVID-19 deaths in the state, Gov. Justice said that he would address the issue of travel to Myrtle Beach “more stringently” early next week.
The governor also announced that all patients and staff at the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Home in Clarksburg have, thus far, tested negative for COVID-19.