KINGWOOD, W.Va. – In an emergency meeting on Monday morning, Aug. 30, Preston Co. schools decided to require masks indoors for the next few weeks.

The meeting was called by Board President Jack Keim and comes as the county health department grows increasingly concerned about the rising number of COVID cases in the county. This is according to Superintendent Steve Wotring who said the topic of masks was the only subject on the agenda during the emergency meeting.

Steve Wotring

“I think it was just for the board themselves to examine where we were,” Wotring said. “And in response to that, they did issue a mask mandate that will go through September 27th, at which time they will revisit the issue to determine whether to undo the mandate or to continue the mandate.”

Wotring said the BOE has been talking to the health department, which has been closely monitoring COVID cases in the county. The health department said Delta variant cases are on the rise.

The new mask mandate comes after the Preston County Board of Education, already, voted to reverse course when it comes to masks in schools.

To start the school year, the board of education voted to “highly recommend the wearing of masks at all indoor facilities.” However, it did not absolutely require masks until the emergency meeting.

Preston County is starting the school year on a staggered schedule with grades 5,8,11&12 starting classes on Wednesday, Aug. 25; grades 2,4,7&10 started on Thursday, Aug. 26; grades 1,3,6&9 began on Friday, Aug. 27, and all grades Pre K-12 started in full on Monday. Aug. 30.

Wotring suggested that parents download the county’s app and visit the school system’s website for more information.