Governor Jim Justice ...

CHARLESTON — Public schools in West Virginia will not begin until at least Sept. 8.

Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday afternoon it’s a matter of having some time to assess the developing situation with COVID-19 and the growing numbers of positive cases in the state and around the country.

“We are going to target a start date of Sept. 8 for schools,” Justice said, adding that he will address a possible start date for high school football games on Friday.

Justice said the date will still allow for schools to get in all the necessary hours and end the year in May.

“I am going to assure you beyond any doubt I am not going to move until I am absolutely as sure as I can be that our kids are going to be safe,” he said, along with teachers, staff and parents.

Justice said the time is needed to watch how the new outbreaks are going and plot a course to start schools safely.

“Our kids need to be in school, they’ve got to get in school,” he said, but it must be done as safely as possible, not only for everyone in school but for others who come into contact with the kids at home.

“If we can buy ourselves more time, the better off we will be,” he said. “That’s exactly what we are doing.”

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com.

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