West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that the state will tentatively reopen schools for in-person learning in September after the coronavirus closings.
Justice, this week, said his office and state education leaders are working together to bring students back into the classroom by September 8 in all 55 counties across West Virginia.
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“No one wants us to go back to school more than I do,” Justice said this week. “But, at the end of the day, I’m going to do what I think is the best thing and safest thing for our kids. And I am not going to move forward with going back to school until I am absolutely sure as I can be that our kids, teachers, service personnel, and parents are going to be safe.”
Justice added that the situation is “a moving target like you can’t imagine.”
“The more information we have and the longer that we can push this out, the better off we’ll all be,” he said. “With our cases exploding to the upside, if we were to rush this and go back to school in two or three weeks, in my opinion it’s the wrong decision because we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
He explained: “We have to buy some time.”
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As of Friday, West Virginia reported more than 3,800 positive cases of the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 95 deaths. The state, as of Friday, had just 1,000 active COVID-19 cases in the state.
Governors in states across the country are beginning to work with education officials to determine a safe reopening plan for schools this fall.
President Trump has vowed to put “pressure” on governors to ensure students are able to return to the classroom for in-person learning, but some local officials are proposing a blended schedule, which would include part-time in-person learning and part-time remote learning.