Statements from the Kanawha County Board of Education, City of Charleston, Kanawha County Commission and Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Regarding KCS Graduation

“The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD) did not make the decision to cancel graduation ceremonies in Kanawha County, but advised of possible danger. The leadership of the Kanawha County Board of Education, after submitting a proposal that did not meet current health guidelines set forth by KCHD and the State of West Virginia, decided to hold all graduations virtually. Six of eight Kanawha County high schools have hosted drive by events and two more are scheduled in the coming weeks, but we will work in tandem with the City of Charleston, Kanawha County Commission and KCHD to look at creative solutions to hold graduation ceremonies for our students. We welcome all student, parent and teacher feedback to make sure these events are a success,” said Dr. Duerring, Kanawha County Schools Superintendent.

“We continue to work with the Kanawha County Board of Education, Kanawha-Charles- ton Health Department and Kanawha County Commission to work on creative solutions that will allow the Class of 2020 to have a memorable graduation,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Parent and student engagement will be critical to the success of each event.”

“Dr. Young, Chief Health Officer for the Kanawha Charleston Health Department has worked throughout this pandemic to protect the safety of our community. I will continue to support her in the advice she gives regarding safe, alternative methods for graduation ceremonies for Kanawha County students,” stated Commission President Kent Carper.

Commissioner Ben Salango commented, “I have been talking with school board mem- bers and parents to determine creative ways in-person graduation could occur. I hope the Board of Education will vote to reverse the decision to cancel in-person graduation as a whole and work to implement these creative, safe solutions.”

“For more than 80 days, Dr. Young has worked tirelessly monitoring the COVID health of Charleston and Kanawha County,” Dr. Arthur Rubin, president of the Kanawha- Charleston Board of Health, KCHD’s governing body, said. “She continues, in her pro- fessional, unpretentious manner, to offer advice and counsel to government agencies, elected officials and the hundreds of individuals she called personally to inform them of their COVID-19 test results.”

Rubin said Dr. Young expressed concern about crowd size when consulted by the Kanawha County Board of Education concerning graduation plans for county schools. “Scheduling graduation falls under the jurisdiction of the board of education with whom the health department has worked closely for years,” Rubin said. “When Dr. Young was asked, she gave her medical opinion and expressed concern because of crowd size but never instructed or ordered the board or any board of education officials on what actions to take.”

“We sympathize with our graduates in these unforeseen circumstances and celebrate their accomplishments,” Rubin said. “We hope parents and the board of education find alternate ways to recognize their accomplishments.”