Gov. Justice hosts West Virginia’s college and university presidents to discuss reopening plans

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice held a virtual meeting Tuesday with all 27 of West Virginia’s public and private college and university presidents to discuss reopening plans for the fall semester and how to ensure the safety of West Virginia’s students, teachers, faculty members, and communities amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“What everyone wants to achieve, myself included, is to bring our kids back to our colleges and our universities safely, so they will be able to continue their education while also protecting their communities, teachers, faculty, and everyone around them at our institutions,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s a way to do it and we all need to try to find the safest and best way possible to pull it off.”

During today’s meeting, Gov. Justice renewed his calls for all students coming into West Virginia from out-of-state to be tested upon their return. The Governor also advocated for individuals on campuses to wear face coverings to the greatest extent possible and pledged to provide colleges and universities with any additional support they may need to facilitate a safe return.

“If we’re able to reopen in the fall, and I hope and pray we’ll be in a position to do just that, any time there are any problems, whatsoever, we’re going to continue to run to the fire,” Gov. Justice said. “I am pledging all the resources of our National Guard, the DHHR, and we will make sure that support is provided when you need it.”

All colleges and universities have individual reopening plans that they are communicating to their campus communities. Each institution is unique, with diverse student bodies and infrastructure, so the plans vary from school to school. During today’s meeting, Gov. Justice expressed confidence in each institution’s ability to chart the correct course for their campus communities.

“I know that there’s nothing that matters more to all of us than the safety of our kids and the safety of all of us,” Gov. Justice said. “I truly appreciate your love and devotion to your students, faculty, and your communities.

“There’s no question that we’ve got some real challenges in front of us,” Gov. Justice continued. “We’ve got to really be on our toes. But we’re watching what’s going on with our numbers as a nation and as a state and we’re absolutely trying, with all in us, to get us back as close to normal as we can.”