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?

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that he will sign an executive order authorizing universities and colleges to reopen their campuses 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.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore the question on many minds: what will happen with school this fall? West Virginia Public Broadcasting is asking questions and reflecting on student experiences this past spring.

Sgt. Amouris Cos / U.S. Army National Guard

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the Eastern Panhandle. Berkeley County has counted 22 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in the past three days. 

Berkeley County’s total number of positive cases, as of Friday morning, is 325 with 14 probable cases, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and it has the highest number of positive cases in the state. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we meet the Division 2 candidates running for the West Virginia Supreme Court. Plus, we answer some of your voting questions, and we bring you a report on reopening concerns in the Ohio Valley.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday additional phases of the state’s reopening plan that will be rolled out over the coming weeks. 

Pool halls, spas, limited video lottery, swimming pools, bowling alleys and other places of amusement will be able to open Saturday, May 30. On Monday, June 1, movie theatres and casinos will be allowed to reopen.

On this West Virginia Morning, we check in with the state’s nursing homes coping with the coronavirus pandemic. We also hear an update on how restaurants across the Ohio Valley are approaching reopening measures.

Gov. Jim Justice gives an update on coronavirus response and alerts in a virtual briefing with media and citizens on March 24, 2020.
WV Governor's Office

West Virginia state officials say the state will proceed with its reopening plans, with the bulk of all retail stores set to open their doors beginning Thursday, May 21.

Nearly all retail businesses will reopen to the public including specialty big box retailers such as sporting and home good stores. Malls will remain closed, but anchor stores with external entrances can reopen. Indoor dining at restaurants can resume at 50 percent capacity.

How Ohio Valley States Are Reopening Their Economies

May 8, 2020
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

This story was updated on May 11, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the Ohio Valley Region. But stay at home orders and social distancing restrictions reduced the number of cases modelers projected without them. 

Now there is pressure to ease the restrictions and open states’ economies back up as the businesses that were closed struggle to find relief and record numbers of people apply for unemployment.

Here is a brief rundown of how West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky plan to reopen businesses.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia has scaled back its plan to lift coronavirus restrictions to gauge how current reopenings will affect the state's caseload, officials said Tuesday.

Stradwick's Fade Cave Facebook Page

Across the U.S., some states, including West Virginia, are beginning to loosen restrictions meant to reduce the spread of coronavirus, allowing for some non-essential businesses to reopen. 

On Monday, May 4, West Virginia entered the second week of Gov. Jim Justice’s six-week reopening plan, “The Comeback.” During week two, businesses with fewer than 10 employees, salons and barber shops, dog grooming services, and outdoor dining restaurants are allowed to reopen. Churches and other places of worship are allowed to conduct funerals and other services with limited gathering sizes. 

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice clarified some aspects of his plan to reopen the state and addressed concerns over what capabilities the state might have to trace a second wave of the coronavirus should it reappear. Justice said that the state will need to “find a way to live with the virus” as the economy reopens.

In a Tuesday virtual briefing, Justice said Week One of his reopening plan — which allows professional medical boards to reopen outpatient health care — is already underway. He also said Week Two would begin early next week.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

This is a developing story and may be updated.

West Virginia’s rates of new coronavirus cases are trending down, and as a result, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has announced a plan to reopen the state’s economy.  The plan, which is expected to roll out over the course of the next three to six weeks, calls for ramping up testing, contact tracing and increasing supplies of protective gear. The plan also includes some guidelines on how businesses will reopen and vague contingencies should an increase in cases be detected.