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Upshur County responding to COVID-19 crisis

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County did not have a positive confirmed case of COVID-19 as of late afternoon Tuesday, according to a press release from the Upshur County Commission.

The commission, Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Community Care of WV, City of Buckhannon, Upshur County Schools, West Virginia Wesleyan College, medical providers, emergency responders and social services agencies met Tuesday for continued planning.

“Though Upshur County currently does not have a positive-confirmed case of COVID-19, local agencies want residents to be sure that response considerations are underway,” the release said. “Importantly, local authorities would like to remind residents to obtain information from trusted, validated sources. Residents are encouraged to visit the CDC and WVDHHR websites for updated information about the COVID-19 virus.”

In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Mayor David McCauley noted the city was responding all recycling at Crossroads and curbside recycling until after May 1. The transfer station at Mud Lick will remain open for accepting recyclables as well as it’s regular services. April’s Make It Shine activities are also suspended.

The city is also canceling all of its boards, committees and commission meetings until after May 1.

Full-time city states are being segregated in each department into two crews with one working one week on and then having one week off.

“Our supervisors believe this will minimize simultaneously exposing an entire department to Covid-19 while maximizing our opportunity to be able to continue to stall all our essential services,” McCauley said.

This method will be applied at city hall, sewer plant, waste garage, streets and parks department and city hall staffing.

“All full-time employees shall be deemed to be “on call” at all times during these emergency measures and they will continue to receive their regular pay and benefits,” he said.

SYCC remains shut down until after May 1 but SYCC staff have been reassigned to other administrative duties.

“As everyone may appreciate, this situation is very fluid and changes daily,” McCauley said. “It is safe to assume that these measures will remain in effect until at least May 1, 2020 and will be reevaluated thereafter.”

Upshur County Schools delivered 14,222 meals counting both breakfasts and lunches Monday.

Due to food supply delivery issues, the school system changed its next delivery to Thursday, March 26 instead of Wednesday. Meals will be delivered by bus only as curb side pick-up at the schools has been discontinued at the present time.

The Upshur County Schools technology team has created a WiFi point that will be available in the parking lot of all schools named PANDEMIC. There is no password. The WiFi will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus said, “This is about equity and access. If someone in our school community does not have access to WiFi, they can drive up to our parking lot and get connected.”

Upshur County Schools is also planning to deliver pizzas on Tuesday with its food deliveries.

“Any restaurant who makes a pizza, if we haven’t called you already, we would like you to call us,” Stankus said. Contact the BOE office at 304-472-5480 to help.

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