CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During Wednesday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced the state’s latest vaccination program called: Operation SOW(Save our Wisdom). There will be 10 vaccination events for those 80 and above this week, including one on Thursday and Friday in Morgantown. Each event may have up to 650 doses, based on availability, state officials said.
Vaccines for teachers and school personnel will start being distributed on Thursday and information on those vaccinations will come through each county superintendent, Justice said.
“By God we’re going to stop this thing and we’re going to stop it together,” Gov. Justice proclaimed.
Justice again talked about the safety of the vaccines and asked if anyone has heard of anyone having an adverse reaction to receiving the shot.
Return to School:
The governor also spoke again about his call for schools to return to in-person classes on January 19, saying “we need to be in school.” Justice went on to say: “I will not be bullied around by the teachers’ unions,” but that he will continue to talk with educators about their needs and concerns.
When asked by 12 News for his reaction to decisions by several counties to not send all students back to the classroom on January 19, Justice said that he does want “local control,” but that the information he was given is that almost all superintendents in the state are calling for a return to the classroom. The governor suggested that decisions like these are being made by board of education members who were being “bombarded by teachers unions.”
“Just give us some time” to get the state’s elderly vaccinated, Justice said to people concerned about school sports. The governor said if numbers trend in the right direction, school sports teams may be able to start practices prior to March 1.
Following several comments by both Justice and state school Superintendent Clayton Burch that characterized virtual learning in the state as a “failure,” 12 News also asked the governor if anything was being done to improve it. Justice said that virtual learning is successful in homes with supportive parents or grandparents, but homes without that support are where it has failed. Justice did say that improvements are being worked on, but did not offer any specifics.
New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Greenbrier:
The governor also talked about the video of New Year’s Eve celebrations at The Greenbrier and a statement made by the hotel. “There’s no way I’m going to do anything in this capacity(the governor) to benefit me,” he said.
Ret. Maj. Gen. Hoyer’s Sweater Vest:
The governor took a moment during the briefing to good-naturedly tease recently retired Maj. Gen. James Hoyer for the sweater vest he was wearing at the briefing, after appearing all of 2020 in his Army uniform. The governor’s teasing ended quickly when Hoyer explained that his wife had picked out his outfit.
The briefing ended abruptly because Justice had to get on a call with the White House on Wednesday afternoon, he said.