WVDE releases school outbreak data

Staff Report

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will post data on COVID-19 outbreaks in public schools on its website at https://wvde.us/schooloutbreaks. The data, provided by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) through the local county health departments, offers a snapshot of information to keep the school and the broader community informed regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in local schools.

The chart provides details about confirmed outbreaks as determined by DHHR health officials. A confirmed outbreak is described as two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases among students/staff from separate households within a 14-day period in a single classroom or core group. The chart will be updated daily.

“Our goal remains to provide confirmed and up-to-date information to the public so that communities, families and individuals have the data they need to protect themselves with good decision making and best health practices,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Collaborating with our partner agencies and relying on our state health professionals is key to collecting, analyzing and organizing information that is helpful for our education community.”

The information on the website can be filtered by several categories including county, school name and number of outbreaks, and it will be archived for future reference. Viewers can also see if the outbreak(s) caused the school to move into remote learning.

As of Monday morning, there were 17 schools in the state listed with an outbreak with 52 total positive cases in 11 counties. The Point Pleasant Primary School is listed with three cases of COVID-19 and are dated as Sept. 21. Mason County Schools’ Supt. Jack Cullen said these are the cases in the school before students began classes. These cases led to a delayed start for the primary school earlier this month. The students have been in school since Sept. 17.

None of the outbreaks listed caused the respective school to go into full remote learning. Three Kanawah County schools were already remote due to “orange” color, according to WVDE. Neighboring Putnam County has two schools listed on the school outbreak database — West Teays Elementary School with four cases and GW Elementary School with three cases.

For more information and updates on COVID-19 in West Virginia, please visit coronavirus.wv.gov or wvde.us/COVID-19.

Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham contributed to this story.

Staff Report