Justice Announces Reopening Date for W. Va. Schools

Charleston - With the daily number of new COVID-19 cases continuing to climb in recent days, Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday he and state education leaders are now targeting Sept. 8 as the tentative date to resume student instruction in school buildings in all 55 counties.

“No one wants us to go back to school more than I do,”  Justice said. “But, at the end of the day, I’m going to do what I think is the best thing and safest thing for our kids. And I am not going to move forward with going back to school until I am absolutely as sure as I can be that our kids, teachers, service personnel, and parents are going to be safe.

“Everyone has got to realize that this situation is a moving target like you can’t imagine,” Gov. Justice continued. “The more information we have and the longer that we can push this out, the better off we’ll all be. With our cases exploding to the upside, if we were to rush this and go back to school in two or three weeks, in my opinion it’s the wrong decision because we just don’t know what's going to happen. We have to buy some time.”

Justice added that officials with the West Virginia Department of Education, including Superintendent Clayton Burch, have conceptualized a condensed student instruction calendar, starting Sept. 8, that would provide 180 days of instruction while still allowing the school year to conclude by the end of May.

Also, Justice said that he has been in discussions with leaders from the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission about plans to potentially push back the fall sports calendar. Additional information will be provided at a later date.