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Governor releases color-coded system for schools

CHARLESTON – Gov. Jim Justice and the departments of Health and Human Resources and Education unveiled Friday the metrics behind a new color-coded system to determine if schools can reopen.

Justice, speaking Friday during his coronavirus briefing at the Capitol, said the state’s new color-coded map and system will be used to determine what schools can reopen on Sept. 8 or have to go to a combination of in-person or virtual learning or completely shut down due to coronavirus cases.

The color-coded system, consisting of green, yellow, orange and red, will be based on an seven-day rolling average number of cases. Each county will receive a green, yellow, orange and red color code that will change daily and be based on a county’s population to avoid skewing toward larger counties.

Counties with between zero and seven positive cases per 100,000 people are considered green, eight to 15 cases per 100,000 people is yellow, 16 to 24 cases per 100,000 is orange and 25 cases or more per 100,000 people is red. If any county falls within the red category, they would go to 100 percent virtual learning.

A map showing the color coding for each county is still be developed by the Department of Health and Human Resources, with the map being updated every Saturday night. Justice said any county that falls within the orange or red category will not be allowed to reopen until cases come down and the county becomes a yellow or green county.

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