Students in Fayette County return to class Thursday, Friday

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Over the past two weeks, school systems have based their operations on the states four-color coded system, but as of today, things have changed.

“We have added that gold category so that we can start to apply that to counties that have lower populations…but are also much closer to being in the yellow,” said COVID-19 czar Dr. Clay Marsh.

Before today, the state had green, yellow, orange and red counties. Those in orange and red couldn’t have in-person classes or compete in sports.

“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,” said Gov. Jim Justice in a press briefing. “If we can safely get some of those kids back in school, should we not try to do just that?”

The gold color offers new hope to local families, allowing Fayette County schools to welcome kids back to classrooms as soon as Thursday.

“Our A-L students will return on Thursday,” said Superintendent Gary Hough. “Our M-Z students will return on Friday while A-L stays home on Friday.”

Under the gold category, Fayette County students won’t only be in class, they’ll be back on the field, too, with spectators limited to parents only.

“They will be permitted to play athletic events on Thursday if they return to school,” said Hough. “They’re working on planning that right now.”

As kids go back to class, things won’t totally go back to normal. Hough says students will still have pandemic-related rules to follow.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at