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Justice changes guidelines for in-person classes

CHARLESTON – Citing the growth in COVID-19 cases across the state and an additional county slipping into the orange on the County Alert System color-coded map, Gov. Jim Justice said any county that slips into the orange will have to close for in-person school.

Starting Saturday night when the official school re-entry map is updated on the Department of Education’s website at wvde.us, any school that moves from the green or yellow categories into the orange category will not be allowed to open for in-person school and will have to switch to distance learning until they return to the yellow and green categories.

According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, Boone County joined Calhoun, Pocahontas, Putnam, Kanawha, Fayette, Logan, Mingo, Wayne and Monroe counties in the orange category as of Friday, meaning there are between 10 and 24.9 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in those counties.

Monongalia County is the only county listed as red, meaning there are more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents and cannot have in-person school or fall sports/extracurricular activities. Those metrics are based on a seven-day rolling average of positive cases in counties with a population more than 16,000, and a 14-day rolling average for counties with a population less than 16,000.

Previously, counties that went into the orange could stay open for in-person school, but those schools had to prohibit assemblies and large group activities, require face masks for students in third grade or above, and limit extracurricular activities to controlled practices.

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