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BOE meets to discuss COVID-19 concerns

Awareness is contagious.

At least that’s what the Monongalia County Board of Education is hoping, when it comes to the coronavirus.

That’s because COVID-19 is now officially here in the Mountain State.

The BOE had convened the special meeting for Tuesday on pandemic particulars of the virus — and while board members were sitting down in Morgantown, Gov. Jim Justice was making the announcement in Charleston.

The case is in the Eastern Panhandle.

With Justice already declaring a state of emergency, and already closing schools, Mon’s board said Tuesday it was time to step up the messaging related to the coronavirus.

Board member Melanie Baker Rogers, a counselor whose patients include children and teenagers, said that’s critical for students, who are currently receiving their lessons at home, via Chromebook computer.

Justice earlier had closed schools through March 27.

Pandemic watchers say the coronavirus could hit particularly hard, here in the mountains.

The state has an aging population that already trends to heart disease, diabetes and other pre-existing factors that prove deadly with a diagnosis of COVID-19.

Rogers wondered if students would be more receptive to an awareness campaign — what the virus is, how it is spread and what one can do to avoid it — if someone their own age was providing the education.

“They don’t want to talk to someone who looks like us,” she said, gazing around the room.

Besides, fellow board member Mike Kelly said, the idea is to get students watching out for each other in a time of medical crisis.

Especially, he said, since young people aren’t always blessed with health.

“Your buddy might have asthma,” he said.

In the meantime, Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr., said the county provided nearly 1,000 lunches for students Tuesday.

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