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Wood Schools differentiates COVID color systems

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Schools officials expressed concerns this week a statewide color-coded system for tracking the spread of COVID in West Virginia counties could cause confusion with the district’s color coded attendance system.

Superintendent Will Hosaflook told the Wood County Board of Education the state system will use four colors, green, yellow, orange and red, to indicate the severity of COVID-19 spread in each county and specific areas.

“I’m not exactly sure what the metrics will look like or how the metrics will be calculated,” Hosaflook said. “The state of West Virginia will have a map, the colors will be placed on the map, and the map will be updated every seven days.”

Wood County Schools is using a three-color stoplight system to indicate how students will attend classes: Green is in person, yellow is a hybrid model, and red is online only. Hosaflook said the district’s color system will not correspond to the state system.

“If we are yellow in Wood County (on the state system), that doesn’t necessarily mean we are in yellow in our re-entry plan,” Hosaflook said.

Hosaflook said many details on the state system have not yet been made available, but so far Gov. Jim Justice has indicated only a “red” rating would dictate the district’s actions.

“Red would be a suspension of in-person instruction,” Hosaflook said. “That is really the only color that was dictated to us. The school system would be shut down for two weeks.”

Hosaflook said local officials will take steps to clarify the differences between the two systems and what they mean for parents and employees. More details on the state system are expected to be released soon.

The 2020-21 school year is slated to begin Sept. 8, though Justice has said he will direct school systems by Sept. 1 as to whether they will open for in-person instruction or begin with remote learning.

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