Liz McCormick

Eastern Panhandle/Education Reporter

Elizabeth (Liz) McCormick grew up in Charleston, West Virginia with her grandmother. She graduated from Capital High School in 2010 and graduated from Shepherd University in 2014 with a B.A. in Communications: Digital Filmmaking and minor in Theater.

Liz began her work with West Virginia Public Broadcasting as an intern in the main office in Charleston in the summer of 2014. She was later hired as a freelance reporter in July of that year, and then hired fulltime in Dec. 2014 as the Eastern Panhandle reporter. In Aug. 2020, Liz took over education coverage for the WVPB newsroom. She is based in Shepherdstown on Shepherd University's campus.

You can hear stories by Liz on West Virginia Morning and Inside Appalachia. You'll also hear her during morning and afternoon local newscasts. Liz covered the West Virginia House of Delegates for three seasons of WVPB's television program, The Legislature Today. Today, Liz is a production assistant on the show.

Liz has won awards in various categories of the Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Association. In 2016, she won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Use of Sound for her story "A Civil War Christmas." In 2018, Liz was a recipient of Shepherd University's Finest Under 40 Alumni award.

Liz is a lover of music and theater. She has performed in community theater productions since she was eight-years-old, and she studied voice for 14 years. Liz attended Interlochen: Center for the Arts summer camp in Michigan to study musical theater in 2004 and film production in 2009. In 2007, Liz was the state champion of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest and one of the 12 national finalists that year. During her college years, Liz was involved in choir ensembles and theatrical productions in Shepherd University's Music Department. She studied abroad in Pau, France in the summer of 2012, and she completed an internship with the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Liz is also a video game enthusiast who loves Nintendo and Pokémon.

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The West Virginia Department of Education announced that six counties will be remote learning-only for the week of Sept. 20, 2020. State officials rolled out updated data Saturday, Sept. 19 at 5 p.m.

Fayette, Kanawha, Mingo, Putnam, Boone and Monongalia county schools will not be open for in-person instruction this week. 

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More than $800,000 has been awarded to four county school boards in West Virginia to help with school safety needs. 

Grant, Pocahontas, Upshur and Marshall County Boards of Education will see a portion of an $824,774 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Absentee Ballot, Voting, Mail-In Ballot, Mail-In, Election
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The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia launched a hotline for West Virginia voters with questions or concerns about the upcoming general election. The hotline is also aimed at helping voters who may experience issues on Election Day.

W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources

The West Virginia Department of Education announced that eight counties will be remote-learning only for the week of Sept. 13. State officials rolled out updated data Saturday, Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.

Monongalia, Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, Mingo, Monroe and Putnam counties will not be open for in-person instruction this week.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia Division of Tourism / David Fattaleh

Marshall University’s President Jerome Gilbert announced the school will impose pay cuts to 650 employees due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on enrollment numbers this year. 

This comes after a pay cut to 140 employees in July. 

COVID, School, Supplies, COVID Relief, Education
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When Congress passed the CARES Act earlier this summer to help Americans navigate the toll from the coronavirus pandemic, West Virginia received more than $1 billion.

Of that figure, $86.6 million was put into a fund called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF). That fund was spent two ways: $78 million was dispersed to all 55 county school districts, divvied up based on the number of low-income students in each district. And $8.6 million was withheld by the West Virginia Department of Education to be used for emergencies related to COVID-19.

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit Williamson where folks are taking an innovative approach to healthcare – they’re trying to keep people from needing it. Also, in this show, we hear from colleges and universities in the Ohio Valley as they navigate the financial and economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Debra Corbett sits at her desk at Ranson Elementary School where she was the principal for 31 years. She retired this year after nearly four decades in West Virginia public education.
Courtesy Photo


Debra Corbett always loved education. Coming from a family of educators, it was something she said she always wanted to do. Her mother, aunts and uncles were all teachers.

“I heard a lot about, when the family got together, about school, about kids,” Corbett said. “It made me want to be in education … to somehow support parents and make a difference in student lives.”

Corbett retired this year after 31 years as principal of Ranson Elementary School in Ranson, Jefferson County. Prior to that, she was an elementary school teacher. She said her biggest takeaways in her career are the importance of compassion, to be gentle, to show support to teachers and students and help them see they can succeed.

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The West Virginia Department of Education announced Saturday that nine counties will begin with only remote learning for the week of Sept. 6 through 12. State officials rolled out updated data Saturday at 9 p.m.


Monongalia, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Putnam and Wayne counties will not initially open for in-person instruction. 


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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Salango and union leaders in West Virginia education say Gov. Jim Justice and state officials are not doing enough for a safe reopening of schools next week. 

A webinar series aimed at helping West Virginia students and families figure out how to best pay for college is kicking off this week and will continue through the end of April 2021.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia will host 20 financial aid webinars to assist prospective students in applying for scholarships and financial aid.

About 50,000 children so far in West Virginia have signed up for virtual schooling in fall 2020.
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Across West Virginia, families have been promised the option of virtual schooling in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And many families are considering it for fall 2020. About 50,000 children so far in West Virginia have already signed up for virtual school, according to the West Virginia Department of Education.

Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Before schools closed for the coronavirus pandemic earlier in March, state superintendent Clayton Burch said he always thought of public education as a “great equalizer.” 

“After March 13, I don’t know that I would stand here and continue saying that, when we found out how many equity issues we identified,” Burch said Monday at a meeting of the House Education Committee.

WVU Medicine East's new medical office building in Shepherdstown is almost complete and expected to open mid-September. Photo taken on Aug. 14, 2020.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Residents and university students in Shepherdstown will have access to a new health care facility starting next month.

WVU Medicine East announced this week that its new medical office building is expected to open mid-September.

Members of the Our Students First Coalition gather on Aug. 12, 2020 outside the West Virginia Education building on the Capitol grounds in Charleston, W.Va.
Jenny Anderson / Our Students First Coalition

A coalition of teachers and public school advocates are asking for West Virginia schools to start remotely for the first 14 days with in-person instruction beginning only after 14 consecutive days of no new coronavirus cases in the state.

The Our Students First Coalition also wants state officials to allow students to return to in-person learning – on a county-by-county basis – if cases drop to zero in certain areas.

A statue of Shepherd University's mascot wears a face mask outside the football field during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shepherd University

Updated on Aug. 12, 2020 at 9:50 a.m. 

All of West Virginia’s higher education institutions have varying return-to-campus plans in place for the fall 2020 semester. But how will plans be enforced? And what consequences exist if students refuse to comply?

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As the nation continues to grapple with conversations over police brutality and racism, some police departments are trying to tackle the problem by teaching better communication skills and recognizing bias among their officers.

Police in Jefferson County recently completed a two-day training focused on de-escalation, implicit bias and racial profiling.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia received documents from the City of Martinsburg Friday afternoon — all related to treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters in late May

The ACLU-WV filed a freedom of information act request more than a month ago, and having not received the documents within the legally mandated time frame, filed a lawsuit earlier Friday. The documents arrived thereafter. 

Harriet Johnson/Facebook

The city of Martinsburg elected its first female mayor this week.

Harriet Johnson, a Democrat, received 564 votes – a little more than 35 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election results.

Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
WVU Medicine/West Virginia University

WVU Medicine’s two Eastern Panhandle hospitals have lifted the zero-visitation policy put in place to combat the coronavirus.

Hospital inpatients and emergency department patients at Berkeley Medical Center and Jefferson Medical Center are now permitted to see visitors.

Jenny Lind is both an accounting student and facilities department employee at Shepherd University. Her duties in facilities have ramped up since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There have been a lot of questions about what public schooling in West Virginia will look like in the fall, but there’s also quite a few questions about higher education.

Colleges and universities have been releasing updates on their websites in recent months about what they’re doing to prepare for a return to campuses in the fall – but uncertainty remains.

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Salango speaks to the public and media at a press conference in Charleston on July 20, 2020.
Ben Salango / Facebook Live

West Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Ben Salango, a Democrat, joined members of the state’s American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO chapters Monday to call on Gov. Jim Justice to outline how he intends to use federal money to help public schools open safely this fall.

Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools Bondy Shay Gibson speaks with board members and the community over Zoom in a special meeting about reopening on Monday, July 13, 2020.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last week, Gov. Jim Justice ordered all public schools in West Virginia open for the 2020-2021 school year beginning Sept. 8. Schools must provide 180 instructional days and must have a five-day school week.

Of course, this could all change depending on how the coronavirus pandemic evolves. But county school boards are starting to prepare for that date and discuss how a return to school in a pandemic would look.

Health officials say handmade cloth face masks like these can help limit the spread of COVID-19 from the wearer to others.
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The debate over whether to wear face masks to combat the spread of the coronavirus steered much of the discussion during a virtual town hall in the Eastern Panhandle Wednesday night. The Jefferson County Commission hosted the event with local medical professionals.

Downtown Shepherdstown
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / David Fattaleh/WV Division of Tourism (WVDT)

A month after passing a resolution strongly encouraging Shepherdstown businesses to require face masks inside their establishments, the Shepherdstown Town Council is formally calling on Gov. Jim Justice to mandate face masks in public spaces across West Virginia.

Posters like this one can be seen in windows of several businesses in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Shepherdstown Town Council

Updated on July 2, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. 

Scientific evidence is mounting that wearing a mask is an effective way to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But in many states, including West Virginia, officials have been reluctant to mandate mask wearing in public.

In the Eastern Panhandle, one town has passed a resolution that “strongly encourages” mask wearing and gives businesses the option to get local police involved if customers refuse to wear one inside their establishments.

A watch glass containing microscopic spores of diverse strains of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These beneficial fungi form spores inside and outside the roots of their plant hosts, helping plants to colonize former mining lands.
Matt Kasson / West Virginia University

Thousands of people have found themselves working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, essential workers don’t have that luxury. But that’s not the only type of work that can’t be done from home.


Scientists across the country have struggled to maintain access to their research, including researchers who take care of living collections — those libraries of living things, usually housed at academic institutions, and used for study or preservation. 


Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
WVU Medicine/West Virginia University

Updated on June 19, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

As West Virginia continues to ease coronavirus-related restrictions this week under Gov. Jim Justice’s safer-at-home order, including nursing home visitations, some hospitals in the state are choosing to keep their doors shut to most visitors.

In this April 27, 2017 file photo, a police officer wears a newly-issued body camera outside in New York.
Mary Altaffer / Associated Press File Photo

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia is investigating the treatment of several protesters recently arrested by the Martinsburg Police Department.

At least 11 people were arrested in Martinsburg the weekend of May 30 and 31 during demonstrations protesting police brutality and racism. 

Martinsburg High School Principal Trent Sherman reaches out to shake hands with a graduating senior on May 26, 2020 during Martinsburg High School’s drive-through graduation. Sherman did not wear gloves or a mask during the event.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

High schools throughout the United States and in West Virginia have had to reimagine graduation for the Class of 2020. Many have already had drive-through, or drive by, graduations, some have done virtual ones, and others hold out hope to also have some sort of traditional ceremony later this summer.