Grants up for grabs for W.Va. schools with highest number of vaccinations

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 12:11 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - State School Superintendent Clay Burch is urging the use of good hygiene, handwashing and getting vaccination as the best way to protect yourself heading into the upcoming school year.

As for masks, during Gov. Jim Justice’s press briefing Wednesday Superintendent Burch said those decisions will be made by county boards of education.

“If you feel you need it, wear a mask,” said Superintendent Burch. “But, really the local superintendents will be looking at that individually for their counties.”

A document for school recovery and guidance will be released Wednesday, and according to Burch it looks much like the guidance used during the summer months.

Superintendent Burch says schools will continue using the same mitigation strategies for cleaning and safety. The state will make sure schools have whatever is necessary to make sure surfaces and environments are disinfected.

The document to be released also has guidance for core groups and large groups as well as contact tracing that will continue this upcoming school year.

Burch called vaccination the most important mitigation strategy.

“We were one of the first states that prioritized of educators and those who work in the schools for vaccination all the way back in January,” Superintendent Burch “We’ve held clinics throughout the Spring, throughout the Summer and we will continue them throughout this Fall.”

Superintendent Burch also announced Wednesday that a competition will be held this year among all schools, public and private, to see which can bring in the highest vaccination rates.

12 awards will be announced in October for the schools with the highest rate of vaccinations.

Through the competition, 12 schools will be awarded a $50,000 grant.

Virtual learning will remain an option for parents or students who do not feel comfortable sending their students back into the classroom.

All West Virginia schools will be operating in-person by August 28.

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