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Fewer students enrolled in W. Va. public schools for 2020-2021 school year

(KWCH)
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 6:11 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WHSV) — The West Virginia Department of Education reports more than 9,000 fewer students have enrolled in West Virginia public schools for the 2021-2021 school year.

According to a press release from the West Virginia Department of Education, the decrease in students is mostly attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the school system.

The West Virginia Department of Education says 252,357 students were enrolled in public schools in the Mountain State as of Oct. 1, 2020.

This is a decrease of 9,276 students since last year. Officials say virtual enrollment is at 47,960 for the state.

“This is an issue that will have to be discussed during the upcoming legislative session,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Miller Hall in the release. “We anticipate a significant portion of these students will return to public school once we have a vaccine and families feel more comfortable with that decision.”

Officials say the decreased enrollment represents an estimated $42.7 million loss in school funding for the 2020-2021 school year. This could lead to the potential elimination of hundreds of positions for professional personnel and service personnel.

The press release also touched on COVID-19 transmission rates in public school settings throughout West Virginia. Shannon McBee, an epidemiologist with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, says of the 357 confirmed cases in schools, 199 cases have occurred among staff, and 158 cases have occurred among students.

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