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Dr. Stankus: Sports attendance limited to parents, guardians; large extracurricular gatherings restricted

Editor’s note: The following is a release from Upshur County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus shared Tuesday morning.

BUCKHANNON – As we continue to work though making sure that we are keeping the Upshur County public informed as much as possible, we wanted to share that on Monday, Sept.28, Upshur County moved to “Gold” on the WVDHHR County Alert System.

We recognize the confusion this may cause for our families and hope the following will help.

The School Alert System map released by the West Virginia Department of Education on Saturday, Sept. 26, listed Upshur County as Green because it did not include the increased cases in our county that came to light over the weekend.

That School Alert System map, released on Sept. 26, guides our attendance for the current week, Sept. 28 through Oct. 2, 2020, per state protocol. We have remained, to date, in a blended model with strict physical distancing and face covering requirements. Those measures exceed recommendations for Green counties and are consistent with requirements for Yellow and Gold counties.

As such, our academic attendance model remained unaltered for this week once we learned of the ascension to the Gold level.

If Upshur County remains Gold through this week and appears Gold on the WVDE’s map on Saturday, Oct. 3, we will modify scheduling for athletic events. The following link contains Dr. Marsh explaining how the metrics are calculated. Also, the DHHR site has provided examples of calculations along with tables that show the percent positivity rate and the incidence rate.

You can find information about the “color system” on https://wvde.us/school-reentry-metrics-protocols/ .

Upshur County’s case numbers are not trending in the direction that we want, and Upshur County Schools feels a responsibility to act. For this week’s athletic events, we will proactively modify spectator attendance to be in line with the Gold level, which means that only parents and guardians will be permitted to attend.

We will also be restricting extra-curricular large gatherings at our schools for at least the remainder of this week.

If we must close schools, classrooms or the county, we will use the “WVDE Snow Day” website. This is a communication tool that our parents know how to use. We will also utilize our “ParentLink” call system in those cases.

We hope this change is temporary and short-lived. Let’s all do our part to get Upshur County’s numbers moving back in the right direction, including washing hands, wearing your face covering and using social distancing.

Remember, if your children have any of the following symptoms, please do not send them to school:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • New cough
  • New loss of taste or smell

Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus reports, “According to our partners at the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, the COVID-19 virus mimics many of the symptoms of other flu strains. We realize this may cause confusion, and that not all symptomatic individuals have COVID-19. However, this situation is unique and constantly changing, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to keep everyone safe.”

We will continue to work with local public health authorities on new cases throughout this week, and of course we await the release of the WVDE’s School Alert System map on Saturday, Oct. 3. We will release any information about any impacts the virus has on school attendance as quickly as possible.

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