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Justice details reopening plan for schools, WiFi hot spots for students

CHARLESTON – Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday West Virginia has all the tools needed to reopen the schools safely by the Sept. 8 start date.

Speaking during his coronavirus briefing from the Capitol, Justice said schools would continue their reopening plans aimed for Sept. 8. For parents concerned about sending their children back to school, virtual lessons would be available.

Justice said the departments of Education and Health and Human Resources would implement a system to determine when schools should shut down and switch to online learning.

Green would mean schools can stay open, with colors ranging between yellow, orange and red to determine if schools should switch to a blend of virtual and classroom learning to an all-virtual learning program. The color code would also apply to school sports.

County boards of education are required to submit plans for re-opening by Monday, Aug. 14, and plans must include a five-day in-person learning plan, a blended learning plan, and an all-virtual plan.

Justice announced a $6 million Kids Connect program to make sure students have access to wireless internet. The plan involved 1,000 wireless hotspots at 688 K-12 schools, 255 public libraries, 323 higher education facilities, and 31 state parks. Justice said the plan is to have the WiFi hotspots up and running by Sept. 8. For students with limited access to transportation, bus transportation would be provided.

“At the end of the day, this is the very best program I can bring to you,” Justice said. “We will absolutely do it and do it correctly.”

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