Schools are open. Games are on. But experts say W.Va.’s latest COVID map is still flawed.

By Lucas Manfield and Amelia Ferrell Knisely, Mountain State Spotlight

October 9, 2020
Facing criticism from all sides – as befuddled parents, teachers and public health experts struggled to make sense of the governor’s “tweaks” to the Harvard-inspired school reopening plan – West Virginia abandoned its original metric in mid-September. 

Now, the state is using what it calls the “West Virginia Model.” And rather than basing school reopenings solely on the number of per capita COVID-19 cases, counties can reopen by increasing the number of negative test results. According to state officials, the change is designed to promote more testing.

“Flood us,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a press briefing Wednesday.

People did. The number of tests went up, and the virus “reproductivity rate,” a measure of the rate of virus spread, dropped. The state once had the highest rate in the nation, and now has one of the lowest.