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New plans unveiled to get students back to school next year, vaccinate older West Virginians

CHARLESTON – Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday a plan to get West Virginia’s K-12 students back into schools even as the state’s school re-entry map is mostly red and orange.

During his Wednesday coronavirus briefing, his last of 2020, Justice said all West Virginia elementary and middle schools will reopen for in-person learning on Jan 19. High schools will still rely on the Department of Education’s weekly County Alert System map to determine whether to reopen.

High schools in red and orange counties on the weekly County Alert System map will remain closed for in-person learning, but elementary and middle schools will only be required to close in red counties. Winter sports will move to March 1.

Justice said that the state will also now vaccinate all teachers, staff and school service personnel age 50 and older over the next two weeks. Teachers and staff under the age of 50 will receive vaccinations after the older teachers and staff receive their shots.

Justice also said that vaccinations for people in the general population age 80 and older will now be available. The state is working with 82 organizations to help administer the shots with details to be released soon.

Justice said that the West Virginia National Guard will hold vaccination events at National Guard armories and selected sites on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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