by KATE SHUNNEY
Morgan County school officials have told families that their students won’t return to classrooms at all this coming week. Concerns over the sharp rise in active COVID cases over the last few days drove the decision, in consultation with the local Health Department, said Superintendent Kristen Tuttle. School officials are also concerned about the potential for COVID exposures over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Student were set to be learning remotely this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday under a previous order from Governor Jim Justice. Instead, Morgan County students will learn away from their classrooms for the entire week.
“In consultation with the health department, it has been decided that due to our increasing infection rate, the number of new cases in the past couple of days and concerns about exposures over the Thanksgiving weekend, Morgan County Schools will extend remote instruction through Friday, December 4. Again, schools will now be in remote instruction all week. We hope to be able to return to in-person instruction on December 7,” said Tuttle in a Sunday afternoon message to families.
Five-day meal packs for virtual students and families who signed up for meals during remote learning can be picked up on Monday, November 30 at the following times and locations:
- Berkeley Springs High School – 11 a.m.-12 noon
- Paw Paw Schools – 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.
- Warm Springs Middle – 10 a.m. -10:45 a.m.
- Warm Springs Intermediate – 10 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
- Widmyer Elementary – 10 a.m. – 12 noon
- Pleasant View Elementary – 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
When students return to classrooms in the county’s six schools will depend on Morgan County’s case trends.
From Friday, November 27 to Saturday, November 28, the number of Morgan County residents actively infected with the highly-contagious respiratory illness rose from 57 to 74, according to testing data from the West Virginia DHHR. There are also five probable cases of COVID in Morgan County right now, meaning at least 79 county residents have the disease currently. That is the highest number of active cases of COVID in the county since the first case was confirmed on March 29. Last Sunday, November 22, there were 41 active cases of COVID in the county, which means the disease cases have essentially doubled in number in less than a week.
Morgan County Health Department officials continue to urge county residents to consistently wear a face covering when out in public, in public spaces indoors and to remain physically distant from others who don’t live in their households. Public health experts say face coverings, frequent hand washing and cleaning frequently-used surfaces can all help residents avoid being infected by respiratory illnesses.
There have been a total of 287 cases of COVID confirmed by testing in Morgan County, or suspected due to likely exposure. One death has been attributed to the virus in Morgan County.