Governor delays school start to Sept. 8

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Department of Education continues to develop reopening guidelines for schools this fall, but officials Wednesday cautioned each school system would be responsible for its own reopening plans.

The discussion came even as West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced he would push the opening date for schools to Sept. 8 due to increasing numbers in COVID-19 cases.

The governor held a daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday, saying that an upward trend of positive cases has led to the decision to postpone the opening date for West Virginia schools. Most of the state’s 55 county-based school systems were scheduled to open within the first few weeks of August.

“Our president is urging all of us to go back to school. Nobody wants us to go back to school more than I,” Justice said. “But in this situation here, I’ve got to look out first and foremost for the kids, for the teachers, the service personnel, all those involved right on down to the parents and everybody else that are involved with our kids.”

Justice said West Virginia has seen an “avalanche of cases” of COVID-19 in recent days.

“It is preposterous to think we could be going back to school in 2-3 weeks with the information we have here,” he said. “In my opinion it’s the wrong decision because we don’t know. We just don’t know what is going to happen. We have to buy some time.”


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