Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday that he is recommending students not return to in-person classes until Septe.28.
“Yes, our kids are falling behind,” Beshear said emphasizing that the health and safety of them and faculty and staff is the paramount concern.
Beshear noted that the number of new cases increased by approximately 12,000 in the last three weeks, which represents a substantial spike.
“The concept to try to resume in–person classes at a peak wouldn’t be safe and would defy logic,” Beshear said.
Beshear noted that with schools returning across the country, places where students have returned in-person, such as Georgia and Indiana, have experienced a spike in the number of children with COVID–19.
“It is a myth that children don’t get it or can’t spread it,” Beshear said noting 100,000 children across the country were diagnosed in July.
Beshear said that despite him begging and pleading for Kentuckians not to go on vacation, families have continued to go to COVID–19 hotspots.
Beshear has repeatedly called out several states including: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas because of their high rates of COVID–19 cases, asking residents who have traveled to any of them to quarantine for two weeks upon returning.
Corbin Schools Superintendent Dave Cox said there is a scheduled board meeting on Thursday and he had added the start date as a discussion item.
Corbin had previously approved moving the start of school back to Sept. 9.
Whitley County Schools Superintendent John Siler said in a press release Tuesday that classes will begin as scheduled on Aug. 26 in an online format.
“Students who do not have access to internet will be given NTI (Non-Traditional Instructional) materials that do not require internet connectivity,” officials stated in the release.
“While this really was not what we had hoped for, I am pleased to be able to say that we do have the equipment and plans in place so our students can begin online learning on August 26,” Siler stated noting that it has been a team effort to prepare the new Chrome books to be distributed to students.
“I feel like we will be able to provide our students with a good experience and meaningful instruction with what we have in place,” Siler said.
Staff have begun professional development in preparation to begin instruction.
Siler emphasized that food service staff will be preparing food each day for students. It will be delivered to students’ homes by transportation employees.
“We have a great group of employees in our schools and they want to do good things for kids,” Siler said.
“We know that we are dealing with a fluid situation and we want to be prepared to change however is necessary to meet the needs of our students.”
Williamsburg Independent School Superintendent Tim Melton said the starting date and what that would look like, would be on the agenda for the Aug. 18 board meeting.
“Our biggest hurdle will be internet access,” Melton said noting the goal is to provide an equitable education.
Williamsburg had previously voted to move the beginning of classes back to Sept. 8.
Families were to have the option of sending their children back to school in-person or having them attend virtually.
Melton said based on the surveys that had been returned, approximately 65 percent of students had planned to return in–person.