Schools to remain closed because of COVID
Clark County Public Schools will continue suspension of in-person classes until next month, Superintendent Paul Christy announced Friday in a letter to families of students and school employees.
In the letter, which was posted on the school district’s website and social media, Christy said he had hoped for a return to classrooms at the beginning of the new year, but because of a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, he had decided that virtual learning would continue through the first half of the current nine-week period with a plan to return to in-person learning Feb. 22 if the infection rate numbers permit.
“We will continue to monitor the local infection rate daily. A decision regarding the return to in-person instruction will be made during the week of Feb. 15,” he said.
On Friday, the infection rate for Clark County was the highest it has ever been.
A few days before Christmas, the superintendent had announced he would keep schools closed until Jan. 8. He has said he wants to continue distance learning while the county’s infection rate is in the “red” category, meaning 25 or more cases per 100,000 population. On Friday, according to the Clark County Health Department, the incidence rate was 90.2.
On Friday, there were 317 active COVID cases in the county.
Christy said in his letter that all staff would continue to report to their regular work stations during virutal learning, and any accommodations for alternate locations would have to be approved by thier principal and the superintendent.
He said the administration would continue to work with the Health Department and staff to assess what is best for the safety of staff, students and the community.
The bus stop meal delivery service will continue to operate during virtual learning.
Gov. Andy Beshear used his state-of-emergency authority to close schools last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Clark County schools immediately transitioned to distance learning, using non-traditional instruction days. During the fall semester, schools were allowed to reopen under certain conditions, and CCPS implemented its hybrid plan to allow students to alternative between socially distanced in-person learning and online learning. But that only lasted a short time, and students have been back to all-virtual instruction since November.
This week the Kentucky House of Representatives passed HB 1, which would allow schools to remain open as long as they implement a COVID-19 plan following Centers for Disease Control guidelines and post it where students and parents can read it. The bill has not passed the Senate, and the governor has denounced that bill and other proposals to limit his emergency orders to control the outbreak of the deadly virus. Beshear has said he would veto the bill, but the Republican majority has the votes to override the veto.
State Rep. Ryan Dotson, R-Winchester, said Friday night that HB 1 would limit the governor’s authority to close schools, but not the authority of superintendents and school boards.
Christy announced in December that in the event of bad weather, the district would declare non-traditional instruction days so that teachers would work from home, as there would be no “snow days” this year.