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Dear reader,

The last few weeks have been full of uncertainty for many of you in our eight-county distribution region when it comes to the COVID-19 coronavirus. We have been providing you with daily updates on how we've been covering the crisis here at The Inter-Mountain and the resources we have made available to you have hopefully kept you and your loved ones up-to-date and prepared in the coming weeks....

First of all, as you may or may not know, our office is currently not open to the public and a large portion of our staff is now working from home, with only essential employees at our main office in downtown Elkins. Our reporters will still be out and about covering events and bringing the latest and most important local news to you each day. Just as you are with your families, we are assessing each day on how to best keep our employees safe and healthy so that they can continue to bring you the latest local news on how COVID-19 is affecting and altering our way of life.

Second, we've devoted a large portion of our reporting resources to coverage of the coronavirus and that will continue. Over the past two weeks, for example, we've produced dozens of stories on how the virus is impacting our region. We've looked into and reported on how funerals are being handled now that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are requiring Americans to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people; we've talked with local nursing homes about how they are keeping their residents and staff safe, and also adjusting visitation policies so residents can stay in contact with their families. We've spoken with local restaurants on how they're adjusting to life with only delivery or to-go customers; and we've provided a daily list of cancellations and postponements of public events, blood drives and other gatherings so that you can remain informed.

We have many other important local stories planned for the coming days, including looking at how local doctors and nurses are using telehealth techonology to provide services to their patients during the pandemic; how local stores which have been deemed essential businesses are changing their policies to safely serve the public; and how local hospitals are dealing with an increase in patients that may have come in contact with the coronavirus.

To help you sort through all this information, we've also added a section on our website labeled "Following the Coronavirus," (www.theintermountain.com/news/coronavirus/), devoted solely to coverage of COVID-19. This section contains all of the latest local, state, national and international coverage of COVID-19 and how it is reshaping life across the globe. We're continually updating this section so you can remain informed on everything from business closings to new numbers of those testing positive for the virus.

Last, we ask that you and your loved ones stay safe as we collectively go through this challenging time. We will do our part to keep you as up-to-date as possible with local news from a staff that you can trust. Local news matters, now more than ever, and we work each day, in all that we do, to remain your trusted local news source.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus causing problems nationwide

When our president and vice president say we have COVID-19 under control and cases coming down, that is not true. It is just a bald face lie. When it comes to wearing a mask, we are told that to enforce mask wearing would be against our rights. Yet when it comes to seat belts or helmets, ...

Order allows colleges, schools to reopen

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice issued an executive order Friday paving the way for colleges and universities to institute reopening plans and officially setting Sept. 8 as the start of K-12 education, even as teenagers and college students lead the spike in coronavirus cases. Public and ...

Safeguards

School, both public and private, will be quite different this fall. In many states, classrooms that normally would have been open by mid-August will not be occupied until September or October, if then. Whether the education process for millions of children will involve in-person teaching or ...

Forest Festival cancels all 2020 events

ELKINS — The Mountain State Forest Festival has canceled all events for 2020 due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. “With Gov. Jim Justice’s restriction on fairs, festivals and outdoor concerts, the Mountain State Forest Festival Association Board of Directors has announced that ...

Upshur County BOE discusses school reopening

BUCKHANNON – Some Upshur County Board of Education members would like consideration given to reducing capacity in the school by having half of the students go two days a week and the other half of students going two days a week and a day for cleaning. The model is one that other ...

Head Start offers virtual summer camp

FAIRMONT — North Central West Virginia Community Action Association (NCWVCAA) Head Start recently launched its first Virtual Summer Learning Program. With the onset of COVID-19 and closure of most childcare and educational facilities, children and families have lost months of learning ...

Justice: VFDs across state to receive funding

CHARLESTON — Addressing concerns raised by first responders across the state over lack of access to personal protective equipment, Gov. Jim Justice announced funding for all 419 volunteer fire departments in West Virginia. “Some of the people that have been really hurting here are our ...

Manchin talks schools, pandemic stimulus

A Sept. 8 school reopening might be a challenge without a vaccine for the coronavirus, a U.S. Senator from West Virginia said on Wednesday. “So you better have Plan B ready to go,” Sen. Joe Manchin said. The health and safety of students and school personnel is the major ...

Distracted

It appears some villains in the insect world may owe the COVID-19 virus a debt of gratitude. The coronavirus has distracted public attention from them — and siphoned off public health resources. Mosquito control is a task normally undertaken by about half the public health departments in ...

Election officials announce funding plans

CHARLESTON — With the Nov. 3 general election 105 days away, state election officials announced plans for federal coronavirus relief funds to prepare, though the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State said more details need to be released on mail-in absentee voting. West Virginia ...

Seller’s market: Despite pandemic, home sales numbers steady

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — The pandemic changed the way people shop for houses, and in some cases, gave owners second thoughts about putting their property on the market. But it didn’t do much to slow down buyers. “Buyers were still in the market to purchase homes and were more than ...

Health official: Masks key to lower numbers

ELKINS — The Randolph Elkins Health Department is continuing its work fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but officials said further assistance is needed from residents to make sure guidelines are being followed. “We need to be more careful,” Bonnie Woodrum, the infectious ...

Blast from the Past event canceled by classic car club

BUCKHANNON — The Blast from the Past is the latest event to have the brakes put on it due to COVID-19. Although the West Virginia Classic Wheels Car Club had hoped to have a one-day event this month, it is now canceled, according to Mayor Robbie Skinner at Thursday’s Buckhannon City ...

State officials continuing to monitor case statistics

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice, state’s health officials and the West Virginia National Guard continue to watch as coronavirus cases increase in the state and as outbreaks pop up at nursing homes and churches. “We’re going to continue to watch and we’re going to continue to stay ...

Fighting Cancer

TENNERTON — “Life doesn’t always turn out how we imagine it to be,” cancer survivor Shanda Hoover said at the 23rd annual Upshur County Relay for Life. “If you are like me, sometimes you think you are invincible and your health will be fine until you reach the age of 80 or ...

Staying open will take teamwork

As states began the process of reopening over the last six weeks, some areas across the country saw an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases. As a result, some reopening plans have been stalled or, in some cases, walked back. For those still able to move forward with their reopening procedures, ...

Randolph BOE looks at school reopening plan

ELKINS — Randolph County Schools’ superintendent offered a proposal to board members regarding students’ re-entry for the upcoming 2020-21 school year during a special board of education meeting this week. RCS Superintendent Debbie Schmidlen said her presentation to BOE members was ...

Treasure on the Mountain activities canceled, but raffle still on

SNOWSHOE — The Snowshoe Foundation announced Wednesday that this year’s Treasure On The Mountain festivities have been canceled in accordance with Gov. Jim Justice’s executive order 51-20, which prohibits all festivals, fairs, and gatherings of more than 25 people. Raffle ...

Justice touts lower unemployment

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice praised the state’s June unemployment rate Wednesday, even as he weighed extending the closure of bars in Monongalia County due to the explosion of the virus in young adults. According to a release from WorkForce West Virginia Wednesday, the seasonally ...

Camp Bosco canceled for 2020

ELKINS — The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and operational cost cuts by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston have led to the planned Aug. 1 closure of the Mary Help of Christians Pastoral Center in Huttonsville and the cancellation of operations at Camp Bosco for the 2020 ...