Governor Jim Justice announced this week that school buildings and facilities will remain closed while remote learning continues through the end of the school year. The announcement provides a framework for counties to plan for the end of the school year, and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) encourages everyone to remain vigilant in their efforts to address the academic and extended needs of children.
“As educators, we have supported Governor Justice’s goal to reopen school buildings and facilities when it could be done safely for students, educators and staff,” said Superintendent W. Clayton Burch. “While decisions of this magnitude are never easy, we appreciate that the Governor understands the importance of guarding the health of the education community, and we thank him for his leadership.”
“I was really hopeful and I tried in every way to get us to where we would be able to go back to school because I know how much the kids would appreciate it…just the excitement of the kids going back and seeing their friends and their teachers,” Gov. Justice said. “But I’ve promised you over and over that I would never put you in a position that could be harmful. I promised that I would try to protect you in every way. And the bottom line is that this is what we have to do to protect everyone.”
The WVDE, the West Virginia Board of Education, county administration teachers, and service personnel along with state agencies have worked together during the COVID-19 outbreak in West Virginia to offer stability and leadership within the school system. From the 1.4 million meals distributed weekly to the diverse range of remote learning opportunities, to the various taskforces and committees that have developed guidance documents and recommendations, there has been a significant amount of work and collaboration occurring to support our students.
“I commend the hard work of our counties, educators and service personnel as they have created a model for remote learning and meal delivery that can be sustained through the end of the school year,” Superintendent Burch said.
A Graduation Taskforce, which consists of West Virginia Board of Education members, county administrators, state PTA members, educators and WVDE staff, continues to address issues surrounding high school graduation and creating a smooth transition for graduates moving toward the next phases of their lives. Issues include dual credit and Advanced Placement credit, free virtual schools, and CTE credentials as well as developing meaningful, end-of-year recognitions and celebrations for high school seniors. Counties will work with their boards of education and local health departments to determine details around graduation ceremonies which may look very different than in years past. The WVDE will post updated school calendar information this week at wvde.us/COVID19.
For more information and updates on the coronavirus in West Virginia, please visit coronavirus.wv.gov or wvde.us/COVID19.
For more information about WVDE programs, contact Christy Day, Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us