The Mingo County Board of Education sent an alert to students and parents Sept. 15 stating that in-person classes will resume on Thursday, Sept. 17. This move followed closely on the heels of an announcement made by Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday of a change to the state mapping system that cleared the way for this action.

Justice, along with the state's top educational leadership and health experts, added a new color category -- gold -- between the previous yellow and orange designations.The new category takes five COVID positive percent points from the orange classification, adds additional protocols and allows schools to reopen sooner. Under the previous system schools that were orange at the beginning of the year were not allowed to open. However, if a school district was green or yellow on the start day and had reopened, in-person classes could have continued if it moved to orange. With the addition of the gold, schools can open even at the increased threat level. If a county then goes orange, in-person classes will be suspended based on the weekly Saturday map. Red counties will suspend in-person the next day without delay.

The following is the notice sent out by the board on its district wide notification system:

"Mingo County Schools is now designated with the color, gold, on the latest state metric map. The first day for in-person instruction will be Thursday, September 17. Friday will remain a remote learning day. Virtual students will follow their current weekly learning schedule from home. Athletic contests may resume Wednesday, September 16, under WVSSAC guidelines. The district will monitor the state metric map over the weekend and announce any changes."

All students in grades three through 12 must wear face coverings at all times while at school or on the bus, according to the new guidelines.

See Friday's edition of the Mingo Messenger for more information about this newest modification to the state's color-coded mapping system.

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