CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Gov. Jim Justice has targeted September 8th as the day students can go back to their physical classrooms, or take their instruction from home through online learning.
Justice says the date could still be pushed back. Critics worry that there is not enough personal protective gear for students and staff, and that more of the federal “Cares Act” money should be spent to hire additional school nurses and buy more testing equipment.
“Schools are not safe right now. I mean we’re seeing an increase in positive cases, throughout West Virginia. Some counties worse, than others. Schools are not safe to do in-person learning right now,” said Commissioner Ben Salango, D-Nominee for WV Governor.
What’s happening elsewhere could be a factor. Some school districts in Georgia had to shutdown after just eight days from reopening, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases which confirmed more than a thousand infected children.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear says he will not allow school to open until Sept. 28 because of a spike of positive cases in his state. As for whether West Virginia is ready, Gov. Justice says challenger Ben Salango is just playing politics.
“For him to say we’re not ready he’s insulting all the great work that all of our Department of Ed, all of our medical experts, all the people that are doing this incredible work, that say, ‘we are ready,'” said Gov. Jim Justice, R-West Virginia.
Still, parents and teachers, some of whom question the governor’s plan in this demonstration Wednesday remain unconvinced. Justice says he will make a final announcement on whether the school start will be delayed, by Sept. 1.
“A lot is at stake in making these decisions, including whether students who attend school in person have enough face masks to protect themselves, and whether students who choose to learn at home have enough food delivered,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.