MORGANTOWN – A group of Monongalia County parents are asking state and local officials to listen up. They want their kids back in the classroom.
They’re rallying Saturday, along Route 705, at the intersection with Don Nehlen Drive, to try to get their message out.
“Make it fair across the board,” said Terrie Turney, one of the parent organizers for the Saturday rally. “Something needs to be done but nobody is hearing us. We’re just asking for kids to be back in school. That is our main focus.”
For all intents and purposes, Monongalia County schools have been shutdown for the last week. The county has remained in the red category on the Department of Health and Human Resource’s County Alert System Map since last Saturday, forcing the school system to begin the year with distance learning and cancel all extra-circular activities. The the 7-day rolling average of new cases per day, per 100,000 people has jumped from 17.86 on Sept. 1 to 36.66 on Friday. That number has reached as high as 43.56.
The the spike in new COVID-19 cases can be mostly attributed to an in cases within the WVU student population. According to Turney, parents feel the current metric has unfairly prevented kids from attending school or participating in school activities and wonders if the situation will change anytime soon.
So far, Gov. Jim Justice has been reluctant to make any changes to the way COVID-19 cases within the WVU student population figures into the metric.
“Our point, that we’re trying to get across, is something needs to change. Something has to happen to get these kids back in school. It’s not fair that they have to suffer and sit at home for WVU students’ mistakes.”
WVU has taken steps to slow the spread of the virus within the student population. In-person classes on campus have been suspended through Sept. 25 and disciplinary action is being taken against dozens of students identified in large bar crowds and participating in house parties last weekend.
The city of Morgantown is also trying to take steps to mitigate the spread, banning parties and social gatherings in neighbors where WVU typically live.
“I commend the school officials here in town. They’re trying the best they can but this is really heartbreaking for us parents,” said Turney.