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Every public school in West Virginia is closed

CHARLESTON, West Virginia — West Virginia is a red state, and not just in presidential politics.

Just take a look at the “School Closings – At a Glance” map put out by the state Department of Education on its website.

The map — which sports different colors for delayed opens, early dismissals and closings — is a solid red (for closings) since all 680 public schools in the state’s 55 counties are closed because of the ongoing teachers’ strike there.

West Virginia employs nearly 20,000 classroom teachers in its public schools and has more than 277,000 students enrolled.

Teachers hit the picket lines last week, demanding higher wages and better benefits. In 2016, West Virginia ranked 48th in the nation for average teacher salary, according to the National Education Association.

Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation Wednesday giving teachers a pay raise, but educators said it wasn’t enough and it didn’t address other areas of concern like insurance and health care costs, so they went on strike.