By April 3, 2020 Read More →

Coronavirus Update: W.Va. lawmakers urge governor to close schools for rest of the year, Gov. Justice says no decision yet

By Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The leaders of both political parties in the West Virginia Legislature called Thursday for the governor to cancel in-person prekindergarten- through 12th-grade classes for the rest of this school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But state schools Superintendent Clayton Burch, at a news conference with Gov. Jim Justice Thursday afternoon, said he was “disheartened” to learn of the letter.

Students are scheduled to return to classrooms May 1, just when Justice’s coronavirus czar, Dr. Clay Marsh of West Virginia University Health Sciences, has said cases within the state are expected to surge. The extension through April 30 of the ongoing statewide school shutdown, which began March 16, was announced Wednesday.

Justice, asked by a reporter Thursday why he has postponed the primary election from May to June over safety concerns but still plans to reopen schools in May, said the election decision had to be made well in advance but the school decision does not.

He raised the possibility that things might look better in late April.

“Your governor will, in no way whatsoever, send our kids back into a situation that’s not totally safe and not totally sound,” he said. …

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