All public schools in four West Virginia counties will be closed today because of the chemical spill.Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln and Putnam counties have canceled classes at all schools, state schools Superintendent James Phares said.H. E. White Elementary School in Clay County and Culloden Elementary School in Cabell County also will be closed.Phares said schools in Jackson, Logan and Roane counties would be open.West Virginia American Water has told customers in the nine counties to not use their tap water for drinking, bathing, cooking or washing clothes.The University of Charleston has canceled all activities at its main campus in Charleston until further notice. University officials said in a statement that operations would likely resume about 30 hours after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin lifts the state of emergency.Doing so will allow students to return to campus, officials said.
West Virginia State University and Marshall University's South Charleston campus canceled classes for today also.Mountaineer Montessori in Charleston also is closed today.State officials are working with county superintendents and local emergency centers to make decisions about school closings this week.School cooks and maintenance personnel are being asked to report in most counties. Phares is expected to communicate a protocol for washing dishes and utensils.The water situation, which directly followed a severe cold snap early last week, means public school students have had few instructional days since they returned from holiday break.Officials haven't yet given word on how they'll try to make up for the lost instructional time. By law, school systems are required to log at least 180 days of instructional time.