When students across Whitley County return to school on Monday, it will be a combination of in-person, virtual, or a hybrid, depending on the district.
Corbin students will have the options of in-person, virtual, or hybrid, but according to a letter sent to parents by Superintendent Dave Cox, even in-person will involve a hybrid situation.
Students attending in-person classes will attend classes on campus Monday through Thursday with Friday being an online day, Cox explained in the letter.
“The main thing is that the COVID–19 rate continues to go up, so this is a good way to ease back into in-person learning,” Cox said.
“We are also trying to mitigate contact a little bit,” Cox said noting the rate of COVID–19 cases in Whitley County is nearing the point where schools may have to return to full-time virtual learning.
Students attending through the hybrid option will be assigned to one of two groups. One group will attend classes in-person on Monday and Wednesday with the other group attending in-person on Tuesday and Thursday. Friday will be a virtual day for all students.
Cox said while students will be randomly assigned to a group, officials will ensure that students from the same household are assigned to the same group.
Cox said while the numbers vary from school to school, approximately 60 percent of the students will be taking part in in-person classes, while 25 percent will continue to take classes virtually and 15 percent have elected for the hybrid option.
Cox also reminded parents that the Kentucky Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control has changed the mask requirements. Students, faculty and staff will be required to wear a mask at all times unless they are eating breakfast/lunch.
This does not apply to Kindergarten students.
“Masks must be worn on the bus at all times as well,” Cox stated.
Whitley County Schools Superintendent John Siler sent a similar letter, though Whitley County is only offering the in-person or remote options.
Whitley County students, who elect the in-person option, will also attend classes on campus Monday through Thursday while Friday will be online.
The second option is all remote learning, which may be done either remotely using the chrome books or the NTI packets.
NTI packets will be either electronic by having them downloaded onto a jump drive, or in paper format.
“As of now, we plan to continue with these two options for the forseeable future,” Siler stated noting the number of COVID–19 cases in Whitley County continues to rise so the schools may be forced to go completely virtual.
“We continue to have as our goal providing the best education for Whitley County students while also keeping them healthy and safe,” Siler stated.
The Williamsburg Independent Board of Education approved a plan similar to Whitley’s at a meeting on Sept. 15.
Superintendent Tim Melton said that parents and guardians will have the option of having their child attend school virtually five days per week, or in-person from 8 a.m. – 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with all students attending school virtually every Friday through December.
Melton noted that every school district should expect periodic disruptions to in-person learning throughout the school year due to the virus.
By every student going to school virtually one day a week through the end of the year, all students will be prepared in the event spikes in the virus force periods of all virtual learning, Melton said.
Parents will have the option to switch their children between in-person instruction and virtual instruction every six weeks.
Board member Roger Faulkner noted that having virtual instruction on Fridays would give the district the opportunity to do a thorough cleaning of the building once a week.
Meals will be served to students attending school both in-person and virtually five days a week.
Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building and water fountains have all been fitted with bottle fillers.