State officials are facing questions following reporting by the Charleston Gazette-Mail Tuesday, that the state government has stopped reporting school-related COVID-19 cases.
At the start of the school year, Gov. Jim Justice guaranteed transparency in reporting all coronavirus cases in the state.
As recently as Sept 8, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources promised to coordinate with local health departments to report COVID cases among students.
However, three weeks into the school year, these cases are not being reported by the DHHR, the Governor’s Office or the Department of Education, according to the Gazette-Mail. The DHHR has cited “inconsistent data” as the reason for the lapse.
The West Virginia American Federation of Teachers union, the largest education union in the state, said in a news release that the state has a responsibility to release the numbers, even if it is technically the duty of local health departments.
The AFT points out that the Kanawha County school system is publicly releasing data, and that other school districts should follow suit.
West Virginia is among 22 states not publicly reporting school COVID data, according to a report from the New York Times.