Schools across Corbin, Williamsburg and Whitley County, as well as the rest of the state, have all canceled in-seat classes through at least March 27, leaving educators with a whole host of issues ranging from preparing non-traditional instruction packets for students during the interim period, to figuring out how they are going to get meals to students, particularly many low-income students who might not get a nutritional lunch otherwise.
All extracurricular activities are also canceled.
The Whitley County School District has canceled in-seat classes through March 27.
School officials sent home instructional packets for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, and Chromebooks for middle and high school students with instructional information already downloaded for the 10 Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) days.
The first day of those classes started Monday for most school districts.
In addition, cafeteria workers at Whitley Central Intermediate School and every other elementary school except for Whitley Central Primary, are preparing sack lunches for students that are being delivered Monday through Friday to every bus stop in the county.
Superintendent John Siler, who helped with one bus route Monday, said that he hasn’t gotten totals on lunches delivered by the 60 school buses on the first day, but he knows that buses from Whitley East delivered about 300 meals, and buses from Whitley North delivered about the same amount of meals.
He said that Sharon Foley, director of school nutrition, would make adjustments as needed for each bus route.
Siler said that the first day of NTI instruction went pretty smoothly with every school fielding various questions from parents and guardians.
The instructional information was sent home with students Friday, and some parents of children, who missed school Friday, called wanting to know how to get their child’s instructional materials.
“It went really well for this being the first time our district has ever done NTI. We did all this with about two and one-half days preparation. I couldn’t ask for it to be any smother,” Siler said.
While students are out, Siler added that school officials are busy thoroughly cleaning pretty much every surface at every school.
Custodial staff, work release inmates and others spent time Monday cleaning hard surfaces with a bleach and water mixture.
Tuesday, the school district started a trial run with a new chemical called QUAT 256, which can kill influenza, coronavirus and see other germs and viruses.
Siler said that school officials ordered the chemical about two weeks ago in anticipation for such a situation.
The trial run for the new chemical took place at Whitley County Middle School Tuesday morning as custodians used four-gallon sprayers to disperse it many places in the school.
Unlike bleach, QUAT 256 is safe for fabrics too.
“We are doubling down. We have wiped down with the bleach-water mix, and now we are spraying this chemical over other areas,” he added.
Williamsburg Independent School has also canceled classes through March 27.
“We will continue to monitor the situation to make further decisions,” said Superintendent Tim Melton.
Williamsburg is providing both a sack breakfast and lunch for all students.
The school began by delivering the breakfast and lunches to eight locations across the city on Monday. By Monday evening, school officials announced that it had added another dozen locations to that list, which now includes: Moore Street, Crisp Court, Old Corbin Pike, Williamsburg Greens, Moore Road, Rains Street, Moses Circle, Mackey Avenue, Mahan Street, Cemetery Road, 6th Street, Croley Bend, Brush Arbor Road, Brush Arbor Apartments, Mount Morgan Apartments, Becks Creek, 13th Street, 12th Street & Main Street, 10th Street and Taylor Apartments.
The deliveries will start each weekday at 9 a.m.
Melton said the biggest thing is that if students need to be added to the meal distribution list, call 549-6044 extension 106.
He added that custodial and maintenance staff are staying busy during the break thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the school.
Corbin Independent Schools have canceled in-seat classes through April 10.
Corbin Superintendent Dave Cox explained that Corbin’s spring break is April 6-10, and that the other three weeks would include NTI days.
Classes are now scheduled to resume on April 13, but this could change.
Corbin Independent Schools served 425 lunches and 425 breakfast meals Monday, the first day the school system was providing free meals to students. School system has just under 3,000 students.
Meals are available for pickup at Corbin Elementary on Kentucky Ave. between 11 a.m. and noon.
Pickups will be done by pulling into the bus loop and up to the front door. A volunteer will bring the meals out to the vehicle.
“You will receive a breakfast and lunch meal for each child,” said Janie Keith, the school system’s food service director. “On Friday, they will receive enough meals for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
In addition, the school system is providing meal delivery, which may be arranged by calling Keith at 344-3204, or the central office at 528-1303.
Keith said meals are currently scheduled to be provided through April 13.