Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

County turning red as plan forms to request WVU data pulled from overall statistics

MORGANTOWN — Following an emergency work session on Wednesday, a plan is forming that would ask Governor Jim Justice to remove WVU’s COVID-19 statistics from the numbers used to determine whether schools can hold in-person classes and prep sports can be played.

Monongalia County is rapidly trending in the wrong direction in regards to the rolling average of daily cases per 100,000 population. This number determines a county’s color designation.

Monongalia County is  orange as of this writing, but very well may be red as of its reading as the daily average has jumped  from 8.25 on Aug. 29 to 23.13 on Sept. 2.

The Monongalia County Health Department said the county had 50 new positive cases on Thursday. It was thought as few as 20 would push the county into the red designation.

If a county is orange (10-24.9) or red (25+) at 9 p.m. on Saturday, classes will be 100% remote when school resumes next week.

Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell pointed out that if WVU’s recent jump in positive cases was removed from the equation, Monongalia County would be in the green, meaning three or fewer cases based on the rolling average.

According to data posted by WVU, 48 of 408 student tests received on Sept. 2 were positive. On Sept. 1, 35 of 260 results were positive. On Aug. 30, just a shade under 20% of the 136 student test results were positive.

“I think we’re going to be stuck this first week, which is very unfortunate, but the leaders of this county want to make the governor aware of this,” Campbell said. “Our kids need a fair shake and right now they’re not getting one.”

Campbell said Wednesday’s working group, which included the county commission, and representatives from WVU, the city of Morgantown, the board of education, the Monongalia County Health Department and the county prosecutor’s office, will reconvene next week.

In the meantime, he explained, he and others will continue to watch the numbers, which, he said, “are right in front of your face.” He noted that the rate of spread in the community is nowhere near what’s being seen within the university.

“We’re not seeing the community spread that people were worried about with WVU coming back … WVU is doing an incredible job of controlling and containing the situation they have, but yet we’re not going to be able to open our schools simply because we live in the same neighborhood as WVU. That’s just not fair to our kids or our community,” Campbell said.