It’s official — schools in Upshur County will be closed next week due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
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.”
Upshur County first moved into the orange designation on Thursday’s daily map and has remained there since. The weekly school map only includes data through October 1 at 11:59 p.m., meaning the 13 new cases reported in Upshur County on Saturday are not part of this week’s calculation.
A total of 48 COVID-19 cases are currently active in Upshur County, according to the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources. Upshur currently ranks as the third worst county in West Virginia for the spread of the virus, behind only Barbour and Tucker counties.
Because of the outbreak, free COVID-19 testing will be offered on Monday, October 5 from noon to 6 p.m. in the Buckhannon-Upshur High School parking lot.
This testing is free and available to all residents, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Here’s the official press release from the W.Va. Dept. of Education:
The West Virginia Department of Education has posted the October 3, 2020, School Alert System: Saturday Education Map. This map, developed with information from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and vetted by the COVID-19 Data Review Panel, determines which counties will hold in-person and blended instruction, and it will direct the level of extracurricular activities permitted.
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: No counties are in the red category at this time.
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: Boone, Harrison, Upshur
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: Barbour, Berkeley, Doddridge, Jackson, Kanawha, Randolph
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: Grant, Lincoln, Mingo, Nicholas, Putnam, Summers, Wayne, Wyoming
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: Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Jefferson, Lewis, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood
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 1, 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. That change would 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 School Alert System map to guide in-person instruction and extracurricular activities.