BOONE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A COVID-19 outbreak has closed Van Elementary School in Boone County, according to Boone County Schools’ superintendent, Matthew Riggs.

“We had seven [teachers] that were off yesterday, and then there were a couple more that reported to work that weren’t feeling well but ultimately that played a big factor in the decision because we were unable to secure substitutes to cover most of the positions,” Riggs said.

The school closed Thursday, Aug. 25 and remained closed on Friday, Aug. 26.

Boone County Schools said they chose to cancel school for the two days because a high number of staff had to take off and there were not enough available substitutes to “safely supervise students.”

According to Riggs, there are about 1,500 teaching position vacancies across the state, and in Boone County alone there’s about 50 vacancies. He emphasizes that the vacancies in Boone County are currently being filled by substitutes until certified teachers can fill the roles but that in itself causes problems.

“It really puts a strain on our substitute list because those individuals fill the vacant positions and they’re not available for day to day substitute jobs,” Riggs said.

He also said there was no remote learning in place for the last two days because it was a “fast decision” to close, but Boone County Schools are working to have a plan for the future in case this happens again.

Classes are expected to resume Monday, Aug. 29.

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Boone County currently has 47 active cases of the virus. The county is in yellow on the County Alert System map with an infection rate of 31.29 and a percent positivity rate of 8.42.

Boone County students first headed back to the classroom on Thursday, Aug. 18.