Ohio County Health Official Expresses Concern Following West Virginia’s New School Guidance

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WHEELING, W.Va.-(WTRF) “Vaccination is key to get students into school and masks are secondary.”

These are the words from Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard Gamble.

Gamble spoke with WTRF 7News following the announcement Wednesday that the Mountain State will start school in person and masks will be on a county by county basis.

Gamble, who believes statewide decisions are more consistent, is concerned about how individual counties will deal with an increase in cases.

According to Gamble, if enough people don’t get vaccinated masks may, in fact, have to go back on, more testing may be required and school programs may have to be suspended.

Gamble adds, “The real thing we need which is to get individuals vaccinated 12 and over. If we have more vaccinated, 12 and over, we can rely less on masks. The problem now falls to us and so to get the kids in school for Ohio County, Wheeling Ohio County Health Department, our focus is really on getting those who are eligible to vaccinate, get them vaccinated and then start the kids off without it (a mask).”

Gamble says the Ohio County Health Department is meeting Thursday with private, public and parochial schools along with West Liberty, Bethany College and Wheeling University officials to discuss the department’s recommendation regarding testing, vaccinations, masking and other guidelines surrounding quarantining.

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