Schools in Upshur County will be closed a third straight week due to COVID-19

Schools in Upshur County will be closed to students through at least Oct. 24 due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases. This is the third straight week that Upshur County schools have been forced to close.

Upshur County is categorized as orange on the official Saturday map released by the West Virginia Department of Education. The map sets school guidance for the following week.

The designation means classrooms will be closed and sports competitions will cease for at least the next seven days.

“Remote learning [is] required,” according to the WVDE. “Extracurricular activities are limited to conditioning only and sport-specific practicing is not permitted. Marching band is limited to outdoors only. Staff may report to their schools, as determined by the county. Essential support services, including special education and meals, will continue.”

A total of 79 COVID-19 cases are currently active in Upshur County, according to the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources. That’s a slight decrease from the 86 cases that were active at this time last week.

Aggressive testing, with free events held at Buckhannon-Upshur High School every day this week, has helped drive the percentage of positive cases down and should limit the spread of the virus in the coming weeks as new cases are identified early.

Upshur County was orange this week by the slimmest of margins. According to the most recent DHHR data released Saturday morning, if the county had just one fewer case — or even if just two more people would have been tested — Upshur would have fallen into the gold category.

In fact, Upshur County was gold on Friday’s map but later changed to orange by the COVID-19 Data Review Panel.

According to a press release from the DHHR, Upshur was “moved from gold to orange due to data validation and one probable case updated to confirmed status.”

Additional free testing will be held at B-UHS on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Here’s the official press release from the W.Va. Dept. of Education:

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has posted the October 17, 2020, Saturday Education Map that determines which counties will hold in-person and blended instruction and directs the level of extracurricular activities permitted. The map is developed with information from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and vetted by the COVID-19 Data Review Panel.

The weekly updates are posted at https://wvde.us/reentrymetrics. County plans should be reviewed for additional requirements. 

Red (Substantial Community Transmission): Counties must move to remote learning. No extracurricular competitions or practices are permitted. Staff may report to their schools, as determined by the county. Essential support services, including special education and meals, will continue.

Red counties include: Doddridge

Orange (Heightened Community Transmission): Remote learning required. Extracurricular activities are limited to conditioning only and sport-specific practicing is not permitted. Marching band is limited to outdoors only. Staff may report to their schools, as determined by the county. Essential support services, including special education and meals, will continue.

Orange counties include: Berkeley, Mingo, Morgan, Randolph, Upshur, Wirt, Wyoming

Gold (Elevated Community Transmission): In-person instruction permitted with increased mitigations including face coverings for children grades 3 and above at all times. Extracurricular activities are permitted in-county (with schools from the same county) and with other gold counties.

Gold counties include: Gilmer, Jefferson, Marshall, Pendleton, Wood

Yellow (Increased Community Transmission): Counties will continue with in-person instruction. Extracurricular practices and competitions may occur. Health and safety precautions include, at a minimum, face coverings at all times for grades 6 and above.

Yellow counties include: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Clay, Jackson, Logan, Mercer, Mineral, Monroe, Nicholas, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wayne, Webster

Green (Minimal Community Transmission): Extracurricular practices and competitions may occur. Health and safety precautions include, at a minimum, face coverings in grades 3 and above when students are outside of core groups and in congregant settings and on school buses.

Green counties include: Cabell, Calhoun, Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Mason, McDowell, Monongalia, Ohio, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Wetzel

The COVID-19 Data Review Panel reviewed and verified the data used to inform the WVDE Saturday Education Map to ensure both accuracy and reliability. The panel considered data captured at 11:59 p.m., Thursday, October 15, 2020. As a result, there may be differences between the WVDE map and the DHHR County Alert Map.

The county color announced each Saturday at 5 p.m. will be in effect until the following Saturday at the same time with the exception of a county turning red during the course of the week. Once reviewed, that change may be made immediately to the WVDE map because all in-person instruction and extracurricular and athletic activities would be suspended. All schools, both public and private, are expected to adhere to the WVDE Saturday Education Map to guide in-person instruction and extracurricular activities.

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