WV Gov. Justice: school mask mandate may be coming if COVID-19 case increase doesn’t slow down

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With the number of cases of COVID-19 continuing to grow in West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice discussed how schools are reacting, during Wednesday’s virtual briefing.

Justice listed West Virginia Wesleyan College’s plan to charge unvaccinated students at $750 non-refundable fee, policies at Marshall University and in Monongalia County schools county that students and staff will wear masks, as will Pre-k through 5th grade students in Kanawha County and said that while he is trying to give leeway to local officials, if the case numbers continue to get worse, he will move in the direction of requiring masks.

While looking at a map showing the increase in community transmission from last month to this month, Justice again pointed to the small numbers of people continuing to get vaccinated as the main issue: “We do not have people running to fire like we should right now,” he said.

The WV DHHR has added some capabilities to its online Coronavirus dashboard to include the number of COVID cases(2,302 or .26%) and deaths(53 or .006%) of fully vaccinated residents.

The governor spent some time talking about the final day of handing out prizes in the “Do it for Babydog” vaccination sweepstakes. He had one of the winners join his briefing. Ashley Goots, of Bridgeport, who is a junior finance major at West Virginia University, won a four-year college scholarship.

Scholarship winner Ashley Goots, of Bridgeport, joins Gov. Jim Justice’s COVID-19 briefing

With the sweepstakes over, Justice said he may look at a vaccine incentive program aimed at the state’s younger residents. In the meantime, “we’ll give Babydog a little bit of rest,” Justice joked

Justice also touched on several non-COVID topics:

The governor announced the mining death of coal truck driver Timothy Collins, Wednesday morning in Randolph County.

Gov. Justice also mentioned an announcement, made Wednesday morning, that Viatris, the owner of the former Mylan facility in Monongalia County, is in talks to turn the property over to West Virginia University, which would in turn work with the state’s Department of Economic Development to find companies to use the space.

President Joe Biden has nominated current West Virginia State Senator William Ihlenfeld to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia and Boone County Circuit Judge William Thompson as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of the state. Justice congratulated both men and urged the U.S. Senate to confirm them both to the positions.

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