Upshur County schools get ‘green’ light to reopen classrooms this week

After being closed nearly the entire month of October, Upshur County schools will be permitted to reopen classrooms to students this week.

Upshur County is categorized as green 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 and sports competitions can resume for the next seven days.

“Extracurricular practices and competitions may occur,” according to the WVDE guidelines for green counties. “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.”

According to the latest data from the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources, Upshur County is green due to the positivity rate, or the percentage of positive cases. The infection rate dropped out of the orange category this week, but remains gold.

The school map only uses the lower of the two metrics in classifying counties, while the higher rate is disregarded.

Twenty-five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Upshur County during the seven-day period covered by this week’s school map. A total of 46 cases are currently active locally, according to the DHHR.

No additional free testing events in Upshur County have been scheduled.

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

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has posted the October 24, 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: Wyoming

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, Boone, Braxton, Mingo, Monroe, Wayne, Wirt

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: Doddridge, Jackson, Kanawha, Logan, Morgan, Pendleton, Webster

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: Cabell, Clay, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Mercer, Ritchie, Roane, Summers

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: Barbour, Brooke, Calhoun, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mineral, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wetzel, 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 22, 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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