The hymn most associated with next week’s Thanksgiving holiday begins with the words, “We gather together.”
And that’s what has Dale Lee of the West Virginia Education Association worried.
Lee, who is president of the teacher union, said Monday that Gov. Jim Justice needs to carry his distance-learning call for the state’s public and private schools through the end of the year.
With a renewed roiling of the pandemic in the Mountain State, the union president said, it’s the only way.
The governor last week said schools would go remote through Dec. 2, after the holiday break.
Medical experts across the U.S. tracking the contagion are looking to Thanksgiving and Christmas with trepidation, since those holidays, especially, are times when family and friends are wont to gather.
“We applaud the governor’s recognition that something must be done to curb the increase in coronavirus cases,” Lee said in a statement.
“And we agree with him on shifting to remote learning after Thanksgiving — but we do not believe his actions go far enough.”
The WVEA announcement came on the same morning the governor was imploring residents to wear masks and to get tested.
Justice didn’t give thanks to the numbers he discussed in that briefing with reporters.
To date, 585 West Virginians have died from the coronavirus and its complications.
A total of 383 residents are currently hospitalized after coming down with COVID-19, and the state has topped more than 34,000 cases since the virus made its way here in the spring. There are currently 10,377 active cases, according to numbers from the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources.
The coronavirus also continues to raise its hand in Monongalia County Schools, with back-to-back positive diagnoses announced Monday.
A class at the Monongalia County Technical Education Center was quarantined after news this past Friday that its teacher had tested positive, Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said.
The district Monday evening also reported that a staffer at South Middle has COVID-19.
Contact tracing found no need for quarantines there, Campbell said.