Charleston, W.Va. (WTRF)- During his Friday COVID-19 briefing, West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice announced a color-coded rating system for counties meant to show whether it’s safe to keep schools open.
“There’s no state that we know of that has a rating system that is similar to what we propose to do,” Justice said.
Gov. Justice says each county in West Virginia will receive a code: green, yellow, orange or red code which will change daily.
The color coded system is based on 100,000 population as a percentage. Justice described how the color coded system works:
- 0 to seven per a population of 100,000 is the green zone
- Eight to 15 per a population of 100,000 is the yellow zone
- 16 to 24 per a population of 100,000 is the orange zone
- Anything exceeding 25 is the red zone
Justice says anything exceeding red in any county, will lead to the county automatically going 100% virtual for schools.
Before the WV school start date, if your county is red before Sept. 8 students will be educated 100 percent virtually.
If your county starts in the green or yellow before Sept 8, and then moves to orange, practice can still occur for sports but no competitive games will be played.
“We don’t want to set you up for automatic failure,” Justice said.
Private and Christian schools will follow these same guidelines.
The color coding map will be updated daily but when it comes to sports residents will need to look at the color coding map that was released on Saturday at 9 PM.
If your county should go from yellow to orange on Saturday’s map release, sports will only be able to participate in practice and not competition until they go back to yellow or green.
A county coded yellow on Saturday can have football on the following Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
“If we go red at any point in time, the schools shut down, the sports shut down in their entirety right at that moment,” Justice said.
COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh says the Harvard Global Health Institute was the model the state was trying to follow, but doesn’t translate to states with a small population.
The color coding map is not currently available. Gov. Justice said the map will be available soon to see what color each county is currently in.
Justice knows the color coded map could be considered complicated but “we’ve tried to make it completely transparent.”
Justice blames West Virginia residents traveling to Myrtle Beach as the reason for the spike in cases. Cases of the virus continue to climb in the state.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports 344,530 total confirmatory laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 8,274 total cases and 157 deaths.
“The reason is real simple. Two words are the reason for this problem: Myrtle Beach,” Justice said.
*This is a developing story. Gov.Justice is currently giving his COVID-19 briefing. Refresh this story for updates*