Hope or uncertainty? Debate on rest of school year continues

By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

April 6, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — At some point Gov. Jim Justice is going to make a decision about whether the hundreds of school buildings across West Virginia will open again this school year or remain closed until next fall because of the coronavirus.

On several occasions last week, despite urgings from leading lawmakers and others to close the buildings for the duration of the term, Justice said he doesn’t have to make the decision yet—and for now his current closure order stands. It goes through April 30.

Justice has an advocate in state School Superintendent Clayton Burch who says it’s a good thing to give students hope that some normalcy may return to their lives in these days of stay-at-home orders.

Burch said that hope is being appreciated by students, teachers and staff including a high school senior in his own family.

“I didn’t think my son was listening to these briefings,” Burch said Friday during Gov. Jim Justice’s coronavirus briefing at the state capitol. “But he is. And to be able to walk into your home and him say, ‘Dad, I really thank you that you’re still thinking about us. That you’re still thinking that there’s still going to be time and hope for me and my friends to walk across that stage (at commencement),’” Burch said.