County schools say student in Paw Paw positive for COVID

On Monday morning, November 16, Morgan County Schools Superintendent informed local families that a student at Paw Paw High School has tested positive for COVID-19. Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said school and health officials were aware this weekend of the possibility the student had the contagious respiratory disease, but “the official confirmation was not received until this morning.”

“The Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department has been working closely with Morgan County Schools to identify any potential persons who may have had close contact with the student including other students, staff, family members and friends. We were made aware of the possible positive over the weekend and took action to notify impacted individuals, however, the official confirmation was not received until this morning. Those that need to be quarantined have already been contacted,” Tuttle told families in a press release and social media post.

Local students remain in classrooms this week as the county’s COVID-19 testing data put Morgan in the “gold” category. In gold, students get in-person instruction, but schools operate with stricter guidelines on mask-wearing and reducing group activities.

This is the second case of COVID-19 in a Paw Paw High School student that school officials have confirmed this fall.

There have been no school outbreaks of the disease in Morgan County during this academic year. Previously, a student at Warm Springs Intermediate School and one at Berkeley Springs High School had tested positive. A person associated with Berkeley Springs High School volleyball team had also had the disease earlier this fall.

“Our students and staff have done a great job wearing masks and social distancing at school in order to help prevent exposure.  We will continue to take appropriate action working with and under the guidance of health officials to protect the safety and well-being of our students and staff.  To keep our schools open to our children, it will take our entire community following established COVID-19 protocol including hand washing, facial covering use, social distancing, and proper hygiene,” Tuttle told families.

Case of COVID-19 have risen sharply in West Virginia and nationwide in the last two weeks. Governor Jim Justice has expanded his indoor mask mandate. On Friday, he said schools will be closed to in-person learning in the week following Thanksgiving due to concerns about holiday gatherings spreading the virus.