Nine counties will be unable to start school in-person or compete in sports when education resumes in West Virginia on Tuesday, according to the weekly map released Saturday night by the West Virginia Department of Education.
Monongalia County is listed in the red zone, while Kanawha, Putnam, Fayette, Monroe, Mercer, Logan, Mingo and Wayne counties are all orange, according to the final map. Although orange would not normally prohibit in-person classes outright, Gov. Jim Justice has said school will not be permitted to start in any county that is orange or red.
As expected, Upshur County is listed as green for the coming week. Lewis, Randolph and Barbour counties are also green, while Harrison and Marion are yellow.
Per state guidelines, green and yellow counties can have in-person school and athletics. Counties that start yellow or green but later go orange can have in-person school and athletic practices, but no competitions. Red counties cannot attend school or participate in athletics.
The map is updated every Saturday night and the color designation applies for the entire upcoming week, with one exception — a county that turns red must immediately stop sports and move to virtual school.
The weekly map release comes as West Virginia is reporting its highest number of new COVID-19 cases ever, with more than 1,300 new cases identified since last Saturday — an average of more than 188 per day. As of Saturday morning, 2,530 cases were active.
The percentage of cases testing positive over the past week has surged to 4.8%. If that number rises above 5%, the W.Va. Department of Education says they will reevaluate the protocols for school openings.