BUCKHANNON — As we continue to work though making sure that we are keeping the Upshur County public informed as much as possible, we wanted to share that on Monday, September 28, Upshur County moved to “Gold” on the WVDHHR County Alert System. We recognize the confusion this may cause for our families and hope the following will help.
The School Alert System map released by the West Virginia Department of Education on Saturday, September 26, listed Upshur County as “Green” because it did not include the increased cases in our county that came to light over the weekend. That School Alert System map, released on September 26, guides our attendance for the current week, September 28- October 2, 2020, per state protocol. We have remained, to date, in a blended model with strict physical distancing and face covering requirements. Those measures exceed recommendations for “Green” counties and are consistent with requirements for “Yellow” and “Gold” counties. As such, our academic attendance model remained unaltered for this week once we learned of the ascension to the “Gold” level.
If Upshur County remains “Gold” through this week and appears “Gold” on the WVDE’s map on Saturday, October 3, we will modify scheduling for athletic events. The following link contains Dr. Marsh explaining how the metrics are calculated. Also, the DHHR site has provided examples of calculations along with tables that show the percent positivity rate and the incidence rate. You can find information about the “color system” on https://wvde.us/school-reentry-metrics-protocols/
Upshur County’s case numbers are not trending in the direction that we want, and Upshur County Schools feels a responsibility to act. For this week’s athletic events, we will proactively modify spectator attendance to be in line with the “Gold” level, which means that only parents and guardians will be permitted to attend. We will also be restricting extra-curricular large gatherings at our schools for at least the remainder of this week.
If we must close schools, classrooms or the county, we will use the “WVDE Snow Day” website. This is a communication tool that our parents know how to use. We will also utilize our “ParentLink” call system in those cases.
We hope this change is temporary and short-lived. Let’s all do our part to get Upshur County’s numbers moving back in the right direction, including washing hands, wearing your face covering and using social distancing.
Remember, if your children have any of the following symptoms, please do not send them to school.
Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus reported, “According to our partners at the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, the COVID-19 virus mimics many of the symptoms of other flu strains. We realize this may cause confusion, and that not all symptomatic individuals have COVID-19. However, this situation is unique and constantly changing, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to keep everyone safe.”
We will continue to work with local public health authorities on new cases throughout this week, and of course we await the release of the WVDE's School Alert System map on Saturday, October 3. We will release any information about any impacts the virus has on school attendance as quickly as possible.