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Marshall University lays out disciplinary actions for not following coronavirus rules

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University students will be required to follow coronavirus procedures once classes begin on Aug. 24 or face removal from campus.

The university is requiring multiple actions to protect the campus community from the coronavirus, including face coverings in university buildings, conducting health checks and reporting results through the MarshallU Healthcheck app, and maintaining six feet between people at all times.

The rules come as Marshall University and other institutions prepare for the fall semester, which has been affected by the virus.

“We are all going to have to be in this together,” Director of Student Conduct Lisa Martin said during a town hall last week.

The first formal strike will be a formal warning and a required meeting with the Office of Student Conduct, and the second strike will result in students taking part in an online class. A third strike could result in removal from campus.

“That is not our goal,” Martin said of the third punishment. “Our goal is to educate everyone and make sure the campus stays safe. We want to make sure everyone is following our guidelines, and that includes our professors and our faculty.”

Martin said students, faculty and others can report people who are not violating guidelines through an online portal. Individuals can anonymously report violations.

“We’re not saying that everybody is going to tattle on everybody, but we have to have everyone stay safe,” she said. “We don’t want to get you here and then say everyone has to go home because we are not following the guidelines.”

Freshmen, some graduate and most professional students will have their courses on campus and in-person, while other undergraduates will take part in virtual classes.

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South Central Regional Jail now on lockdown after five covid cases among inmates

The South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County has gone on lockdown with five active cases of coronavirus among inmates, making it the second West Virginia jail with an ongoing outbreak.

The other is the Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County.

Four of the cases at South Central represent new confirmations, and the jail is on lockdown to eliminate movement and suppress further spread.

The positive inmates are in two housing units, according to a statement issued Sunday afternoon by the state Department of Homeland Security.

Of the other inmates in those units, two were tested after showing symptoms and their results are pending.

The remaining 29 inmates in these units are being tested,. according to the state Homeland Security agency. None of these inmates is complaining of symptoms.

Each inmate in both units is screened for symptoms daily and their temperatures are checked twice a day.

The Southern Regional Jail has one active inmate and nine active employee cases.

The positive inmate remains asymptomatic, and all employees are self-quarantining at home.

Tests are pending at the Southern Regional Jail for 10 inmates and 19 staff as part of the contact tracing process. None report symptoms.

At both the Southern and South Central regional jails, nearly 58 percent of the total population – 305 and 416 inmates, respectively — are pretrial defendants.

To address the risk of COVID-19 within correctional facilities, the W.Va. Supreme Court called on magistrates and circuit judges in late March to consider personal recognizance or reduced bond for “any pre-trial individuals who do not constitute a public safety risk.”

But each jail now has more inmates than when that guidance was issued.

MORE: Coronavirus statistics in West Virginia correctional facilities 

All West Virginia corrections facilities conducted enhanced testing of inmates and staff in June.

Nearly 440 South Central Regional Jail inmates and more than 100 employees were tested at that time. All were negative.

The state Division of Corrections also tests symptomatic individuals and those identified as a close contact through contact tracing, as a prerequisite for some offsite medical appointments, and at the recommendation of the Bureau for Public Health or a facility’s medical provider. Corrections facilities also coordinate with their local health departments.

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Official reports of 8 more nursing home deaths fell through the cracks

State Health Officer Ayne Amjad said officials were aware of multiple deaths of residents at a Princeton nursing home but were hindered in publicly reporting the deaths because of staffing issues at the facility and at the local health department.

Ayne Amjad

“We need the proper documentation,” Amjad said in a Sunday telephone interview. “We have to be sensitive when announcing it publicly, especially when it relates to covid.”

Amjad continued, “We are working on clarifying the processes at a local level so that delays do not happen.”

The state Department of Health and Human Resources on Sunday morning reported the deaths of eight residents of the Princeton Health Care Center. That was on top of three deaths previously reported at the facility.

DHHR said the deaths occurred over the course of the last few weeks but were not reported in an official capacity due to personnel changes at the Mercer County Health Department.

Those who died include an 80-year old woman, an 87-year old woman, an 86-year old woman, a 79-year old woman, a 91-year old man, a 78-year old woman, an 89-year old woman and a 76-year old man.

Bill Crouch

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of these eight West Virginians,” said DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch. “Our condolences are extended to these families during their time of grief.”

The nursing home has been dealing with an outbreak for weeks. Right now there are  34 active resident cases and 21 active employee cases. The facility has gone through round after round of testing.

Amjad said officials were aware of deaths from the nursing home, but steps in officially reporting the deaths were delayed by several factors.

“If any piece is missing in that puzzle, that’s why. Everything has to be accounted for, documented. It can’t just be word of mouth. You cannot make a mistake with saying something,” Amjad said.

So one factor is that DHHR tries to be particularly careful about reporting deaths after early missteps.

Early on in West Virginia’s coronavirus response, in March, the state reported two deaths on two different occasions that turned out to not be true.

“Two different places, two different counties. And in both situations, just to tell it like it is, we weren’t right,” Gov. Jim Justice angrily said at the time.

Those mistakes began at the local level and then were passed along to DHHR. Officials at DHHR said they would work harder to verify deaths through two confirmations.

So the state requires a death certificate as well as a death report that includes additional information about the circumstances.

“To be accurate and sensitive to families, the state requires a death certificate and death report in order to classify a death as covid or probable covid related before including it in our dashboard,” Amjad said.

In Mercer County, there have been extenuating circumstances with officials who could make sure that reporting is done.

Dr. Charles J. Mirabile, medical director at Princeton Health Care Center, was diagnosed with covid-19 as the virus spread through the nursing home, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported. He was recently transported to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, where he is on a ventilator.

Medical needs of residents are being met right now by Dr. Ryan Runyon, the facility’s associate medical director.

The other issue was the mass exodus of leaders with the Mercer County Health Department.

Earlier this month, Mercer health department administrator Susan Kadar turned in a retirement letter, and health officer Kathleen Wides also resigned. In reaction, health board chairman Randy Stevens also resigned.

In its own announcement of the eight nursing home deaths, the local health department cited the departures and confusion over reporting procedures.

“The delayed reporting of these deaths was influenced by two factors: First, the sudden vacancy of the medical director position at PHCC, and second, a misinterpretation of standing COVID-19 state procedures pertaining to the need for verification of death certificates prior to reporting,” the local health department stated.

Death reporting procedures are being updated “based on the new clarification of directives to ensure there will be no delay in future reporting,” stated Dr. Randy Maxwell, chairman for the county health department.

Amjad has been filling in for the past couple of weeks as the health officer for Mercer County while also carrying on her relatively new duties as the state health officer.

Amjad went in person to the Princeton nursing home last Sunday.

The prior Friday and Saturday, she had spoken on the telephone with Mirabile, the facility’s medical director who wasn’t yet hospitalized, to try to get a feel for the situation.

“I wanted to talk to him before showing up there,” Amjad said.

The two decided additional blood work needed to be ordered for residents.

But by the time she arrived, Mirabile was out. Amjad said she spent about 3 hours with administrator Stephanie Compton and registered nurse Tabitha Billings, an infection control specialist.

Meanwhile, blood work results returned, showing that some residents were dehydrated or had abnormal lab results. As a result, 16 residents went to local hospitals that Sunday night.

“We wanted to make sure they were stable and safe,” Amjad said.

Crouch, the DHHR secretary, publicly announced the 16 hospitalizations that Monday during a regular briefing about West Virginia’s coronavirus response.

“So we have some real concerns. We have been in constant contact with the administration down there, with the CEO,” Crouch said that day.

Even at that time, Crouch described the local health department being in disarray and said the state was trying to get a better grasp on any fatalities.

“We have three reported deaths, but again those deaths are reported through the local health department. We are trying to confirm additional deaths through the health department,” Crouch said on August 3.

This Saturday, August 8, Amjad called the local health department herself to push the official paperwork through.

On Sunday morning, DHHR was finally able to provide public information about the deaths.

Amjad, during a Sunday telephone interview, said several steps have been taken to try to help the Princeton nursing home.

In addition to multiple rounds of testing, the National Guard has been on site to help the facility check its air system, aiming to suppress the spread of droplets. Plastic sheeting was placed between doors.

“We were trying to find ways to mitigate the spread,” Amjad said.

Amjad said the nursing home’s situation seems to be improving.

“They have a lot of hard workers who are doing their best,” she said.

“It’s emotionally tolling on them too. Some of their residents they’ve been with them a long time. It’s emotionally draining for them. We’ve been trying to help them and trying to encourage them.”

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Early voting underway on Cabell County Schools bond issue

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Early voting is underway in Cabell County on an $87 million school construction bond that will be up for election on Aug. 22.

Jedd Flowers

Cabell County Schools spokesman Jedd Flowers tells MetroNews school system supporters feel positive about the chances OF the bond being approved.

“It’s up to the voters. We put it out there and we’d try to give them a good package,” Flowers said.

The 10-day early voting period began last Friday on the plan that features eight projects highlighted by the extensive renovation and expansion of the Cabell County Career Technology Center. Flowers said the expansion could include a move to the Huntington Mall.

“We could possibly buy the old Sears location which has been closed for quite some time and convert that. That would double the amount of space we have square footage-wise and allow us to expand greatly the number of programs we offer to both high school and adult students,” Flowers said.

Other projects include the replacement of the county’s three oldest remaining elementary schools and the construction of safe entrances at Cabell Midland and Huntington high schools.

“We are asking for $87 million from local taxpayers. The district is going to put in $10 million from our general fund and then we’re hoping to have a match from the (state) School Building Authority of an additional $10 million. So it’s really a $107 million impact on the local area,” Flowers said.

Cabell County taxpayers recently finished paying off a 2006 bond issue. Flowers said approval of the new bond won’t change taxes much because of low interest rates.

Ryan Saxe

Cabell County School Superintendent Ryan Saxe has been holding virtual town hall meetings because of the pandemic. Flowers said school system officials considered backing off the bond plan because of COVID-19 but supporters urged them to keep going.

“We thought about maybe not doing this originally and we went to all of the economic development leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, HADCO, the development corporation, and they all said, ‘Please do it. It’s the stimulus we need right now,'” Flowers said.

Cabell County has an impressive record on bond issue votes.

“Thankfully we’ve never had a bond issue fail in Cabell County because our people generally see that we do what we say we are going to do and we have made great improvements in the district and because the bonds pass we are able to do other things,” Flowers said.

The bond projects include:

Meadows Elementary – A new, replacement facility built on the current site or relocated to a new site.

Davis Creek Elementary – A new, replacement facility relocated to a new site.

Milton Elementary – A new, replacement facility on the existing site or a nearby site owned by the Board of Education.

Nichols Elementary – Renovations including, but not limited to, a safe school entrance, sprinkler system, new windows, doors, roof, and HVAC.

Hite Saunders Elementary – Renovations including, but not limited to, a sprinkler system, new windows, doors, roof, and HVAC.

Cabell Midland High School – Renovations including, but not limited to, safe school entrances.
Huntington High School – Renovations including, but not limited to, safe school entrances.

Cabell County Career Technology Center – Extensive renovations and expansion at the current site, or relocation of the center to a new site. Creation of spaces for additional CTE program offerings.

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Full weeks of in-person classes planned at West Virginia’s Catholic schools

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Five days of instruction in school was the plan for the upcoming school year in West Virginia’s 24 Catholic schools with most student returns scheduled for Sept. 8, the same day for public school starts.

“It’s going to be an interesting year for sure,” said Dr. Carol Templeton, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Joseph Catholic High School in Huntington.

Dr. Carol Templeton

“We’re ready for it.”

At St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Joseph Catholic High School, families have been weighing whether to go with the five days of in-person instruction or a blended model utilizing online options.

“I would say the vast majority of our school community wants to come back in person,” Dr. Templeton told MetroNews.

“There are some families, for whatever reason, maybe it’s underlying health concerns or they’re just apprehensive to return, there are some families that would like an option of a virtual learning environment.”

The Department of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced school plans last week which were sent to families and students for review.

The plans were designed, said Mary Ann Deschaine, Catholic School superintendent, to meet local, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines while addressing the holistic needs of students.

“Because we are Christ-centered, every choice we make and plans we develop are prayerfully made with our students’ success and well-being in mind,” Deschaine said in a statement.

“Our learning environment will always focus on the social, emotional, physical, spiritual and mental well-being of each child.”

Plans were subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions locally throughout the school year.

“We do have the ability to be in person and virtual, if needed, but our curriculum standards will still be maintained,” Dr. Templeton said.

At times during the academic year, some students may be required to quarantine.

“When these circumstances occur, they will have to have that option to switch to virtual so that their education can continue seamlessly without any disruption,” she said.

When schools closed in March, St. Joseph students started using Google’s G Suite tools for their classes. High school students have also utilized Zoom. Plans for the fall are similar, if necessary.

“Students are very familiar with our remote learning system,” Templeton said.

Some St. Joseph students, those enrolled in Advanced Placement or dual credit courses, will be getting going before Sept. 8. The start date for those students in those classes is Aug. 24, the same day the fall semester begins at Marshall University.

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Alston unable to start preseason camp, WVU practice opens Monday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A unconventional preseason training camp will open on Monday for the WVU football team. In the ultimate team sport, the Mountaineers will be divided into two completely separate units to minimize contact. They will appropriately be named the ‘Gold Group’ and the ‘Blue Group’.

The players will not be broken up according to a preseason depth chart, but rather which players are roommates and spend the most time together off the field.

“Everything is spread out,” second-year head coach Neal Brown said. “The first group will basically come in and get taped, get treatment and eat breakfast. While they are at breakfast we will do our virtual position meeting there with their iPads. That will be like our install meeting.

“All of our meetings are virtual – team, special teams and position meetings,” Brown said. “The Gold and Blue Group do the same thing. It’s essentially two-a-days for the coaches. This has really how we’ve been operating since we started the 20-hour rule where you get the six hours of walk-throughs, six hours of position meetings and eight hours of conditioning.”

WVU head coach Neal Brown (Photo by Ben Queen/USA Today Sports)

Brown said the practices will be shorter and crisper than a typical fall training camp practice.

“What we are going to do is go from a real high-intensity drill to a low-intensity drill and then back to a high-intensity drill and then to a low drill. That’s how the practices are going to work out.

“We’ve had twelve walk-throughs leading into fall camp, which you don’t normally get during the summer,” Brown explained. “Usually, you have spring ball and then you have a very limited meeting time and nothing with the ball with the players until you get into fall camp.”

Brown enters his second season guiding the Mountaineers. They went 5-7 last fall, winning two of their last three games on the road to close the 2019 season.

“You look at our scholarship numbers and the amount of people who have been in our program longer than the time I’ve been here is not a whole lot of them,” he noted. “We are really young and a little bit immature, but there is some good in that because they are eager too. I like our energy. I do think that, mentally, our capacity just from a football intelligence standpoint on offense, defense and special teams is encouraging.”

Brown added that junior defensive lineman Taijh Alston will not be able to practice at the start of camp. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the 2019 season at Missouri. Alston could miss the first half of the season.

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Updated 2020 H.S. football composite schedule (as of Aug. 9)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The 2020 high school football season in West Virginia is scheduled to begin on Thursday, September 3. The opening week of the season was canceled, leaving athletic directors and coaches to compress their schedules to as many as ten games in a span of ten weeks. In addition, Maryland, Virginia and some schools in Pennsylvania will not play high school football this fall, leaving many West Virginia teams with open dates to fill. Ohio’s schedule is in flux due to Friday’s suggested guidance from the OHSSA to feature a 6-game regular season schedule.

The attached document is the latest update of the 2020 high school football composite schedule (updated through August 9). Updates listed have been posted on the WVSSAC website, reported directly to MetroNews, announced by athletic directors/coaches on team social media sites or listed by Ed Forshey at

2020 HSFB Composite (Aug. 9) Schedule

(Please report any updates/corections to [email protected]). Thank you.

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DHHR confirms eight more COVID-19 deaths at Princeton facility

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) confirmed the deaths of eight individuals from the Princeton Health Care Center due to COVID-19.

In the DHHR’s daily COVID-19 report on Sunday, the agency said the deaths occurred over the course of the last few weeks but were not reported in an official capacity due to personnel changes at the Mercer County Health Department.

Those who died include an 80-year old female, an 87-year old female, an 86-year old female, a 79-year old female, a 91-year old male, a 78-year old female, an 89-year old female, and a 76-year old male, according to the DHHR.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of these eight West Virginians,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “Our condolences are extended to these families during their time of grief.”

Sunday’s report brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths at the Princeton Health Care Center to 11 as three of these deaths were previously reported by DHHR.

A couple of weeks ago, as the outbreak was becoming apparent at the Princeton nursing home, there was a shakeup at the county health department.

Mercer health department administrator Susan Kadar turned in a retirement letter, and health officer Kathleen Wides also resigned. In reaction, health board chairman Randy Stevens also resigned.

Officials at the nursing home at one point indicated they had asked for early testing intervention after identifying a coronavirus case in early July but didn’t receive the help they needed.

West Virginia officials, in turn, described responsive action to the situation as it developed at the Princeton nursing home.

“With regard to Princeton, in regard to my knowledge, we did everything we were supposed to do,” Gov. Jim Justice said during a July 31 coronavirus response briefing.

The Princeton Health Care Center has gone through round after round of testing the past couple of weeks.

Right now, the nursing home says it has 34 active resident cases and 21 active employee cases.

“We will continue the weekly testing process at least until the time we have gone two weeks without any additional positive cases,” wrote nursing home administrator Stefanie Compton.

In a regular update on Saturday, the nursing home’s administrator said medical needs of residents are being met by Dr. Ryan Runyon, the associate medical director. Dr. A. Amjad, state medical officer who is also serving as interim medical director for the Mercer County Health Department has also been on site and is involved in the medical care of residents.

Last week, the nursing home described struggles in dealing with the virus spread.

“We are saddened to report that some of our residents have passed due to this deadly virus,” Compton wrote. “We are keeping our extended family in our prayers and ask that you do the same. We are also saddened to report that some of our employees have become extremely ill. Our hearts are with them all!”

West Virginia is now up to 139 COVID-19 related deaths. The DHHR added 131 cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 7,694.

The most recent daily percent positive was 2.33 percent.

Cases per county (Case confirmed by lab test/Probable case): Barbour (29/0), Berkeley (669/27), Boone (101/0), Braxton (8/0), Brooke (63/1), Cabell (391/9), Calhoun (6/0), Clay (18/0), Doddridge (6/0), Fayette (148/0), Gilmer (16/0), Grant (120/1), Greenbrier (93/0), Hampshire (76/0), Hancock (108/4), Hardy (57/1), Harrison (218/3), Jackson (162/0), Jefferson (287/7), Kanawha (922/13), Lewis (28/1), Lincoln (87/0), Logan (228/0), Marion (187/4), Marshall (127/4), Mason (56/0), McDowell (61/1), Mercer (196/0), Mineral (119/2), Mingo (171/2), Monongalia (922/17), Monroe (20/1), Morgan (27/1), Nicholas (36/1), Ohio (265/3), Pendleton (39/1), Pleasants (12/1), Pocahontas (40/1), Preston (104/21), Putnam (194/1), Raleigh (246/7), Randolph (205/5), Ritchie (3/0), Roane (15/0), Summers (11/0), Taylor (55/1), Tucker (10/0), Tyler (13/0), Upshur (37/3), Wayne (206/2), Webster (4/0), Wetzel (42/0), Wirt (6/0), Wood (235/12), Wyoming (31/0).

.@WV_DHHR reports as of 10:00 a.m., on August 9, 2020, there have been 322,914 total confirmatory laboratory results received for #COVID19, with 7,694 total cases and 139 deaths. #SaferAtHomeWV

— WV DHHR (@WV_DHHR) August 9, 2020

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Justice hews closely to Trump in words, but sometimes disagrees on covid response

Gov. Jim Justice speaks often of his close relationship with President Donald Trump, but the governor sometimes differs with the president on handling the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump

Trump, in an interview on Fox & Friends last week, said, “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease. He added, “They don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem.”

The president has been pushing for a bottom line of schools opening in the fall.

“My view is the schools should open,” Trump said on Fox & Friends.” “This thing is going away. It will go away like things go away, and my view is that schools should be open.”

He repeated those positions in a later news conference.

Videos with Trump’s comments were taken down by social media companies who cited false claims. Doctors say children can catch – and pass on – the coronavirus.

Governor Justice

Asked about Trump’s statements during a Friday news briefing, Justice disagreed.

“First and foremost,” Justice said, “I don’t write the scripts for our president and he says what he thinks are his ideas and on his mind.”

Justice said children seem to be resistant to covid-19, but not immune.

“From my standpoint, I would say that children surely have shown that they have more resistance to this. But as far as being children immune, I don’t think that. I think this disease can affect our children as well. But we all know from the standpoint of the number of children running around and being with parents or being with friends or being with everybody the numbers we show that children have problems are very, very, very small,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control says based on available evidence “children do not seem to be at higher risk for covid-19 than adults.” The CDC says it is investigating cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

A Johns Hopkins Medicine report similarly notes that “the disease seems to be much milder in babies and children” while expressing caution about rare instances of multisystem inflammatory syndrome. The Mayo Clinic agrees.

Of West Virginia’s coronavirus cases, ages 0 to 9 make up 3.74 percent and ages 10 to 19 make up 9.98 percent.

But those are also the two smallest age groups to receive testing at 3.13 percent and 5.81 percent respectively.

Children have not gathered in schools in West Virginia since they were abruptly closed in March.

Justice is aiming to open West Virginia schools by Sept. 8, while giving families options for in-classroom or virtual learning. In the governor’s statements, Justice has emphasized a desire to maintain community health.

The governor has talked about the need to deal with covid-19 while working toward he goal of a medical solution.

“From the standpoint of this thing going away, I think absolutely this thing will go away. But I do not think it’s just going to go away; I think it’s going to go away because our scientists and our medical community have got to find vaccines or drugs that greatly minimize the situation as we go forward,” he said.

Justice, a Republican, has often described his admiration of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Justice and Trump have been close political allies, based in part on their background as wealthy owners of resort properties. Justice changed his party affiliation to Republican during a Trump rally in West Virginia, and the president calls the governor “Big Jim.”

During Friday’s news conference, Justice blasted Trump’s political opponents, as he often does.

“If you want the real truth, from my standpoint, I will tell you the Washington Pelosi liberals that run through the streets in D.C., do you really think these people care about our kids in West Virginia? Do you really think they care about our teachers? Do you think they care?” Justice asked.

“What they care about is one thing, they care about hitting our president and trying to win an election.”

But although Justice’s political statements align with Trump and often knock House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the governor sometimes parts ways with the president on policy.

Last month, Justice’s announcement delaying the start of the school year came right as the Trump administration was ratcheting up its push to open schools five days a week.

Justice made reference to his close relationship with the president while also saying he would abide by advice from closer to home, including state schools Superintendent Clayton Burch.

‘Our president is urging all of us to go back to school. Nobody wants us to go back to school more than I or more than our Superintendent Clayton Burch,” Justice said. “We absolutely are tee-totally ready to go back to school today.

“But the other thing is just this simple. From my standpoint — I love our president and all the great things he’s doing, and I hope he’ll be reelected. But in this situation I’ve got to look out for the kids, the teachers, the personnel.”

The delay came as West Virginia’s numbers for positives compared to overall testing, reproductive rate and hospitalizations surged alarmingly.

“I can assure you that I am not going to move until I am absolutely as sure as I can possibly be that our kids are going to be safe,” Justice said then.

Scott Gottlieb, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner who has become a public face of handling the coronavirus, described medical uncertainty about how covid-19 affects children during an appearance Sunday morning on “Face the Nation.”

“We need to have a degree of humility about the risks. We need to try to protect children,” Gottlieb said. “So if we do reopen schools, and I believe we should, we need to do it with a sense of caution.”

#Covid19 and Children: “We need to have a degree of humility, children are not immune from this virus,” @ScottGottlieb says, countering @realdonaldtrump's repeated inaccurate claims, noting that children have *died* from the #coronavirus.

— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 9, 2020

Gottlieb made several social media posts this weekend about the potential for tragic consequences of covid-19 raging out of control in student populations.

THREAD: Covid caused 338,000 diagnosed infections in kids. 86 tragically died, thousands more hospitalized. To compare burden to flu, an estimated 11.3 million kids got symptomatic flu in 2018-19, 477 died. If Covid became as widespread in kids as flu, outcomes could be grim. 1/3

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) August 8, 2020

There’s lot we don’t understand about Covid in kids. We shouldn’t trivialize observed or possible risks. Schools have been closed; many kids deliberately sheltered from infection. In coaxing schools to open it’s imprudent to argue Covid is harmless, or milder in kids than flu 3/3

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) August 8, 2020

Justice’s comments seemed to align with those concerns when he spoke at Friday’s briefing.

“Children surely can get this. We know babies have gotten this. So from that standpoint, that’s exactly where my thoughts are,” the governor said.

“And from the standpoint of, ‘Will it just go away?’ — I don’t think it will just go away. I absolutely believe that what we’re dealing with here is a real, live pandemic that is absolutely going to stay with us until we are able to get a vaccine, get drugs that will make it go away — and the other thing we’re going to have to do in the meantime is we’re either going to have to just ball up in a corner or we’re going to have to learn to live and deal with the risk as best we possibly can.”

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Manchin, Capito discuss Interstate 68 business environment with Maryland colleagues

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s U.S. senators are working with two of their Senate colleagues on trying to motivate industries and businesses to move near Interstate 68.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., took part in a virtual discussion Friday with Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen about possible regional collaboration regarding the 112-mile interstate.

Among the business sectors mentioned were the aerospace industry, which includes the Rocket Center and Allegany Ballistics Laboratory, which create military weapons and aircraft.

The West Virginia portion of the corridor is growing at a slower pace than other parts because of the lack of urban areas. Capito, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said the state can lure companies with West Virginia’s recreational options.

“They love to come out to work in a place where they can recreate, buy a larger piece of property and enjoy that region of our state,” she said.

Manchin touted the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which dedicates billions of dollars for maintaining national lands.

“It’s the greatest thing we’ve done for our environment in the last 50 years,” he said.

Capito also noted the need for affordable housing, broadband and roads as issues companies care about when opening new offices.

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