While local school districts are hesitant to release information about COVID-19 restrictions that may be enforced at schools since incident rates could change, Gov. Andy Beshear announced some of the state recommendations on Monday during his media briefing.
“Our priority is our kids,” said Beshear. “How we make decisions has to come from one simple place: What gives us the best chance to have our kids in school the maximum number of days in the midst of a pandemic? That is our North Star.”
The governor’s recommendations include:
- School districts should require all unvaccinated students and unvaccinated adults to wear a mask when in classrooms and other indoor school settings;
- School districts should require all students under 12 years of age to wear a mask when in classrooms and other indoor school settings; and
- School districts wishing to optimize safety and minimize risk of educational and athletic disruption should require all students and all adults to wear a mask while in classrooms and other indoor school settings.
Beshear also announced a voluntary program for COVID testing in schools.
The program called K-12 School COVID-19 Testing Program is offered by the Kentucky Department of Public Health in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Kentucky K-12 schools to assist in reopening safely for in-person instruction, said a press release from the governor’s office.
“We’ve been given $134 million by the federal government to create a testing program for K-12 schools, public and private, throughout the entire commonwealth,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “I urge everyone who operates a school out there to explore the options and make testing available to keep yourselves safe.”
As part of the program:
- Testing will be limited to staff and students of Kentucky K-12 public, private and charter schools and includes school district employees and staff (contracted or otherwise), such as bus drivers, maintenance, office staff or as determined by the school administrator.
- The K-12 School COVID-19 Testing Program will operate the entire 2021-22 academic year.
- Participation in the school-based COVID-19 screening testing program is voluntary and at no-cost.
As of July 26, Whitley and Laurel Counties were both in the red zone, which indicates an incident rate higher than 25 percent.
Looking ahead to the upcoming school year, schools in the Corbin Independent School District will have new start and end times for each school:
Corbin Primary School: 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
Corbin Elementary School: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Corbin Middle School: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Corbin High School: 8:25 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. and Zero hour for high school students will be 7:30 to 8:20 a.m. (only for students who sign up).
Corbin will begin classes on Aug. 19.
Whitley County Schools will begin on Aug. 11.
Williamsburg will begin on Aug. 25.