HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The executive director of the West Virginia Christian Education Association (WVCEA) says he wants schools in his organization to continue to follow the COVID-19 color-coded map for school openings as most have made ‘great strides’ with protection of students.
WVCEA leader Dan Brokke speaking with MetroNews about the more than two dozen Christian schools under his organization, as two schools not under that umbrella, Calvary Baptist Academy in Putnam County and the Bible Center School in Kanawha County opened this week defying Gov. Jim Justice’s order with the map.
“We would like the privilege of deciding by each school, taking into account the situation in their county and then parents be able to make the choice about whether they want their children to attend on-site or virtual,” Brokke said of school decisions between on-site and virtual learning.
Brokke said all schools in the organization located in counties that have been green or yellow on the map reopened to in-person learning safely on September 8 under the governor’s guidance.
He added that schools that have reopened for the fall semester have strong protocols including social distancing in classrooms, temperature checks, creating quarantine rooms should a child get sick in class, and while remaining to offer online courses for parents to have a choice.
WVCEA members include Ballard Christian School, Berean Baptist School, Beth Haven Christian School, Calvary Christian School, Cross Country Christian Academy, Cross Lanes Christian School, Danese Christian School, Elk Valley Christian School, Emmanuel Christian School, Grace Christian School, Heritage Christian School, Indian Creek Christian School, Joseph Academy, Lewisburg Baptist Academy, Lighthouse Christian Academy, Little Kanawha Valley Christian School, Mercer Christian Academy, Morgantown Christian Academy, Mountain State Christian School, Pipestem Christian Academy, Seneca Trail Christian Academy, Victory Baptist Academy, and Wood County Christian School.
According to Brokke, two WVCEA schools located in an orange or red county, which means under order that schools must remain closed for in-person learning, did open the physical classrooms this week but have already closed.
Justice announced changes to the color-coded system on Tuesday after MetroNews spoke with Brokke, adding the color gold to put between yellow and orange, allowing in-person learning in gold counties. With the changes, only three counties in the state, Kanawha, Monroe, Monongalia, are orange or red.
“I think the schools right now are in a wait and see and anxious to open if they are in those higher colors,” Brokke said Tuesday morning.
Brokke said WVCEA schools are following the color code for athletics, which was also changed by Justice. Schools in gold counties can play other schools in gold counties or schools within their own county. Orange and red counties must remain on the sidelines.
Gold means a county has between 10-14.9 cases in a rolling 7-day average of 100,000 people and orange is now 15-24.9 cases. Orange had previously been that entire range.
Brokke said Christian schools are in a different position than most public schools in West Virginia, including less students and own transportation.