Bible Center School parent says in-person learning is their choice

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice started his briefing Monday by calling out Bible Center School in Charleston for making the choice to re-open, despite Kanawha County being in orange and nearing red on the color-coded COVID-19 metrics map.

Under orange, counties cannot reopen for in-person instruction. Bible Center School is just one of three private schools in orange counties that opened Monday.

Terra Bird, a mother who has a student at one of those schools, said they made the right call.

She said when she found out the school would begin holding in-person classes starting Monday, she felt it was the right decision, despite Kanawha County being in orange on the state’s color-coded map.

When it comes to my child’s education that should be our choice its my child’s education, if I felt like she was in immediate danger, obviously I would not have sent her in person.

Terra Bird

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says when the school called last Friday to say they would be allowing kids into the classroom, the health department responded with a strong warning.

Dr. Sherri Young, health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, responded during the weekend, asking them in the strongest of terms not to hold classes because of the definite fear of community spread, according to John Law, a health official in Kanawha County.

The move got the attention of the governor during his briefing Monday.

We have a situation in Kanawha County with Bible Center School, and they are taking it on themselves to just ignore the executive order that the governor has put in place and go back to school.

Governor Jim Justice

WSAZ reached out to the Bible Center School to find out why they made the decision to move forward with in-person classes instead of following the state’s plan.

They released a statement the reads in part:

Historically, West Virginia has deferred to the judgement of students and teachers and their respected families in instances where private schools choose to deviate from decisions made by public schools. BCS respectfully requests that our great state do the same in this instance.

Bible Center School

WSAZ reached back out to the school following remarks by Justice.

The Bible Center School said, "We are going to stick with our original statement as any comment for today.”

For Bird, she stands by the school’s decision and believes in-person learning is best for her daughter.

“If there is a case at the school or we are in the red, then we will come out so again for us as an education that is where we wanted to be and I think we have continued to make the right decision,” Bird said.

Justice said the state is in talks with the school to find common ground before tougher decisions are made, and he is trying to find a balance between an executive order and the school’s religious freedom.

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