Fayette County moves back to orange a day after dropping into the new gold color

(NEW) School County Alert Map as of September 16, 2020

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Several counties continue to worsen on the School County Alert System, just one day after Gov. Jim Justice made several changes, including adding a new color.

On Tuesday, the new color county map showed that Fayette County would drop from orange to gold, which would allow students to return to the classroom via The West Virginia Department of Education’s website.  Today, Fayette County has now jumped to the orange category via the DHHR website, which is updated daily. The number of cases in Fayette County per 100,000 stands at 21.22, only 3.77 away from slipping into the red color. Fayette County Schools will still start school tomorrow, Thursday, September 17, 2020, because the county is still gold on the WV Department of Education’s website.  County schools do not go by the daily DHHR website daily update unless the county goes into the red, which in-person classes stop immediately.

(OLD) School Map released on September 15, 2020
(NEW) School County Alert Map released on September 16, 2020

All counties in our viewing area are yellow, except for Fayette County, which is now in orange.  Pocahontas County went from yellow to gold in a day.  The one county that saw a drop in their color code was Monroe County, who went from orange back down to yellow.

Under the orange color code, it means the following:

Suspend in-person instruction and activate remote learning following the release of the Saturday Metric map.

    • Staff continues essential student support services, including meals, student engagement, and special education services.
    • Athletic and extra-curricular activities limited to conditioning only as defined by WVSSAC.
    • Marching band activities must be limited to outdoors only. Instruments permitted only when students are stationary and distanced in pods.
    • Marching band activities must be limited to outdoors only. Instruments permitted only when students are stationary and distanced in pods.
    • Athletic and extra-curricular activities limited to conditioning only as defined by WVSSAC.

Kanawha County now joins Monongalia County in the red, which suspends all in-person classes.

During his latest briefing with state health and education experts, Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday the addition of a new color – gold – to the School Alert System map, which determines the scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for each particular week.

Counties in gold have 10.0–14.9 cases of COVID-19 infection per 100,000 people. Up until now, counties with these numbers were categorized as orange. However, in an emergency meeting that lasted into the evening Monday, Gov. Justice and state health experts determined that the orange category was too broad.

“Our original plan was put together with a considerable amount of thought,” said Gov. Justice, noting that White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx praised the map as “remarkable” during her recent trip to West Virginia, highlighting the plan as a leading practice nationwide for all states to emulate.

“But just because we had a good plan doesn’t mean we can’t make it better,” Gov. Justice added.

“We’ve got 67,000 kids that aren’t in school, and we’ve got 15,000 of those kids that are special needs kids,” Gov. Justice said. “If we can get some of those kids back in school safely, should we not try to do just that? Should we not continue to try to change and adapt and make our system even better? Well, I think so. And last night, in an emergency meeting we had with all the experts from several different fields, we have now come upon a system that is slightly tweaked, but is absolutely better.”

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com