Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced today the closing of all pre-k – 12 schools in the state. This comes after several measures were taken this week, including the canceling of all out-of-state travel and the suspension of all afterschool and school extracurricular activities. Though at this time there are no positive cases of COVID-19, this step was taken out of an abundance of caution. Child nutrition programs will continue throughout the school closure.
While schools are closed to students, faculty and staff are expected to report to work. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has been working with county superintendents for several weeks to update emergency preparedness plans, which will now be implemented. Each county has worked with its local health department to meet the specific needs of children, families and communities.
“I support the Governor’s decision to cancel school as a preemptive measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, W. Clayton Burch. “The health and safety of our children is our foremost concern. We will work closely with our community partners, including the West Virginia National Guard, state agencies, organizations, school employees and families to meet the needs of our students whether it be food distribution or other important supports.”
The WVDE has been actively working with the federal government to ensure that students relying on school breakfast and lunch programs will continue to receive those meals. Additionally, the WVDE will support counties in addressing any other flexibilities that need to be implemented to assist children and families while schools are closed.
Superintendent Burch will continue to work closely with Governor Justice, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and other state agencies to monitor the situation and provide updates to counties as developments occur.
For more information and updates on the coronavirus situation in West Virginia, please visit coronavirus.wv.gov or wvde.us/COVID-19.