It’s beginning to look a lot like COVID.
Make that, a lot more like COVID.
That’s why remote learning has been extended until Jan. 20 for schools in Monongalia County.
“We’re looking at it as a preventive measure,” Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said Wednesday.
While no positive cases in the local district have been reported in a week, the coronavirus is still roiling across the state.
To date, a total of 1,039 West Virginians have died of complications from COVID-19, Gov. Jim Justice told reporters Wednesday.
That’s counting the 60 alone who succumbed between Monday and the time of Wednesday’s briefing, Justice said.
Nearly 200 people are being treated in intensive care units across the state, the governor added, with 766 others ill enough to also be admitted to the hospital.
When the County Alert Map for schools was updated this past Saturday, only four of the state’s districts — Logan, McDowell, Randolph and Summers — were in the green.
Mon County was showing orange, after a spate of cases in recent weeks that were more about quarantines than anything else, Campbell said.
It “just makes sense,” Campbell said, to keep students, teachers and other workers away from communal settings where the opportunistic virus can take hold.
Mon right now doesn’t have enough substitutes to fill the temporary vacancies while people are self-isolating, he said.
“It’s the same thing we were thinking about with Thanksgiving,” he said.
“We’re going into Christmas and New Year’s. People are going to get together.”
People are also gathering for the Pfizer vaccine, he said, with more to come down the road from its Moderna counterpart.
The state Department of Education, meanwhile, has pulled back on its initial announcement that teachers across the state could begin receiving the vaccine as early as Dec. 27.
Campbell said he can understand if timetables have to change, given the magnitude of the distribution in the Mountain State.
Happily, the one thing that is no longer tentative, he said, is the arrival of the vaccine.
“Now we’re seeing needles going into shoulders,” he said.
“And that’s a start to getting back to normal.”
Across the state in the Eastern Panhandle, what used to be a normal occurrence during this time of the year was on the mind of Bondy Shay Gibson, the superintendent of Jefferson County Schools.
Her response to that thought made her a minor-league celebrity on the internet.
With the bands of a Nor’easter vectoring in, the superintendent called for a good, old-fashioned snow day in advance for Wednesday.
“So please, enjoy a day of sledding and hot chocolate and cozy fires,” the superintendent wrote in a letter to parents.
“We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday,” she continued, “but for tomorrow … go build a snowman.”