By Tyler Arnold
(The Center Square) – All West Virginia public high schools have been ordered to reopen, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Jim Justice.
High school openings had previously been determined by a color-coded system, which set its classifications based on the spread of COVID-19 in a given county. Now that all teachers and other public school employees have had access to vaccines, the governor is forgoing the system and ordering every school to reopen.
Pre-school through eighth-grade schools had already been open.
Local health and education officials can still shut down a school if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in one of the classrooms. However, a county’s COVID-19 performance will no longer be a metric used to determine school closures.
“This [color-coded] system has been really valuable to us,” Justice said in a statement. “When we originally announced our color coded map for school reopenings, it was the best way to make sure we were keeping our students and teachers safe. It served us really well and I truly believe it saved a lot of lives. I thank all those that helped implement this system. But now that all of our teachers, service personnel, and other school employees who wanted the vaccine are vaccinated, it’s time for us to retire the map and move forward.”
Schools will still be required to follow guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Our team will always continue to monitor and watch as close as we possibly can, and our health experts will intervene if we feel we have to,” Justice said.
The governor also signed an executive order to allow all types of live music performances to resume, which is effective now. The order also allows summer camps to resume on May 1.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.