CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “I absolutely believe with all in us that we ought to be back in school,” said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice during Wednesday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing.
Justice’s statement comes following the state Board of Education’s decision Tuesday, that pre K-8th grade students return to full five day instruction by March 3. Full-time instruction is encouraged for high schools as well, but they may remain with blended learning if the community infection rate is high, Justice said.
Masks Still Mandatory
Despite loosening many COVID-related restrictions, the governor wanted to make it clear that masks are still mandatory in public. Dr. Clay Marsh reminded residents to wear masks over their mouths and noses and encouraged double mask wearing.
West Virginia continues to lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccination rates and if the state were a country it would be the fifth(or seventh) best in the world, Justice said.
State officials are working to balance out vaccine distribution to all West Virginia counties, they said. Currently 28 counties are below the threshold of balance, Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer said. A county-by-county breakdown of vaccinations can be seen on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
The state did experience a computer glitch Tuesday that caused some issues with vaccination scheduling through Walgreens in Harrison County, officials said.
DHHR employees are working to register home-bound residents, as well as people who live in group homes, for vaccinations, officials said.
The state is still looking for more people from many counties around the state to pre-register to be vaccinated.
Tax Town Hall
The governor has scheduled a town hall for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to go over his tax plan, which includes repealing the state income tax. State residents can submit questions to the governor online or by calling 304-558-2000.
Hatfield-McCoy Trail System Sales Record
Justice lauded an announcement that the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System broke sales records for permits in 2020, despite COVID-19 shutdowns. “The system is a gem unlike any other,” Justice said.
West Virginia Power Finds New Home
The governor also expressed his pleasure at Wednesday morning’s announcement that the West Virginia Power, Charleston’s minor league baseball team, has been added to the independent Atlantic League. “This is the absolute home run for Charleston,” said Justice.
Prayers for Tiger
Gov. Justice asked for prayers for Tiger Woods, following his Tuesday car accident in California. The governor said that Woods had played golf with Justice’s son at The Greenbrier.