UpDate (September 24th, 2020) from Jackson County Public Schools:
"Unfortunately, Jackson County is 28.9 on the COVID-19 Incidence Rate Map which would place Jackson County in the “red” (critical level) on the COVID-19 Mode of Instruction Metric. Therefore, Jackson County Public Schools must continue with the Remote/Virtual Learning for the upcoming week.
Just a reminder that Thursday, October 1st and Friday, October 2nd, are non-instructional days due to Fall Break. We are very disappointed that we are not able to offer the Traditional In-Person Learning Option for the upcoming week. We will continue to monitor the incidence rate map and hope that the numbers will decrease to an acceptable level on the metric. The next determination will made on Thursday, October 1, 2020."
The Kentucky Department of Health through the Kentucky Department of Education, has furnished all Kentucky school districts with a COVID-19 “Mode of Instruction Metric” for K-12 Education that will be used to guide school districts in their decision to re-open with the traditional in-school model or continue with virtual learning only. In compliance with the state guidance the JCPS District issued “Extracurricular & In-person School Guidelines regarding local control over "Mode of Instruction", ability to host KHSAA events and local COVID-19 reporting requirements”.
The “Mode of Instruction” metric is based on the number of cases per 100,000 people daily (i.e., Incident Rate). This is another tool that will help school districts to make an informed decision concerning returning to traditional in-person instruction. The current Incidence Rate Map can be located at:
The color-coded system provided to the school district recommends specific mitigation measures based on levels of disease transmission. The four levels are:
Green, (<1) with fewer than one case per 100,000 county residents, means schools can hold either in-person or remote classes as long as schools are following the Healthy at School guidance. Gov. Beshear’s guidance on group gatherings and other standard precautions still must be followed. Sports may resume if Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) guidelines are followed.
Yellow, (< 9.9) with 9.9 or fewer cases per 100,000 people, also allows in-person or remote learning and sports, but with heightened mitigation steps as coordinated by local officials, school administrators and public health leaders.
Orange, (< 24.9) with 24.9 or fewer cases per 100,000, means schools should take into account a variety of factors to determine if they should move to remote learning exclusively. Sports still would be allowed, but there must be strict adherence to health guidelines. Small groups of students may be allowed into schools for targeted services.
Red, (> 25) or more than 25 cases per 100,000, means schools should move the following week to all-virtual instruction. Essential student support services, such as providing meals, should continue. Small groups of students can be allowed in schools for targeted services.
The District will examine the incident rate every Thursday at 8:00 pm to be informed regarding the Mode of Instruction and ability to host KHSAA events for the upcoming week. Thursdays were chosen to accommodate planning purposes. By making the decision on Thursday nights for the following week parents will know ahead of time and be able to plan accordingly for the upcoming week.
As of Tuesday, September 22, 2020, Jackson County’s rate of COVID-19 incidence was at the orange level according to the metric. Principal Brian Harris reported, “Our overall COVID-19 rate in Jackson County has dropped to the orange level. We are now currently at a 20.4 on the scale released on the COVID-19 KY Dashboard. If we are at a 24.9 or below on Thursday at 8:00 PM we will be able to start in-person classes next week. Please help us return to school and stay in school by wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene.” Principal Harris continued, “Here are some important points to consider as we transition back to in person learning. Wearing a mask will be a requirement inside the building unless eating or drinking. We will have a seating chart in all classrooms and the cafeteria. Temperature and wellness checks will be performed on all staff and students each day. We have many new ways that we are sanitizing our buildings to help keep students and staff safe. We are excited to re-open our school to those students who chose the in-person learning option. Virtual learning will be an option for all students for the entire 20/21 school year. If you chose virtual you can’t switch to in-person until October 29th. We must have adequate time to plan and reassign cafeteria and classroom seats. You must notify us of your intent to switch from virtual to in-person no later than October 15th. If you chose in-person but would like to remain virtual please notify your first block teacher. Student drivers must enter through the front doors of JCHS no earlier than 7:40 AM. You can park in the lower lot closest to the football field. You may also use the upper level parking areas near the baseball/softball field. Parent drop offs at the front doors no earlier than 7:30 AM. Buses will be unloading and loading at the side of the building closets to the baseball/softball fields.”
Now, more than ever, it is important that our entire community follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidance and please wear a face covering.”
By September 28, 2020, school districts will be responsible for self-reporting positive COVID-19 cases for students and staff, as well as quarantines due to exposure. There is also a second component where the District provides additional information about these cases to the local health department. Superintendent Smith stated, “Accurate reporting of data is necessary to allow our school district, students, parents/guardians and the community to make informed decisions concerning risk levels associated with COVID-19.” Superintendent Smith stated that he would again like to commend our local health department for their assistance and support as we continue to work collaboratively in an effort to provide a safe learning and working environment for our students and staff.”
JCHS Principal Brian Harris reported on the high schools ability to host KHSAA sports events: “We will be using the dashboard given to us by the KY Department of Public Health to determine our ability to host KHSAA events. We will look at our incidence rate of new cases every Thursday at 8:00PM to determine if we can host events for the following week. If we fall into the red zone we will not be able to host any events for the following week. The rate is based on a rolling seven day average of new cases based on each county's population. As a consequence of being in the “red zone” last Thursday the Generals were forced to cancel another football game and the Lady Generals were forced to cancel a home volleyball game this week.
Principal Harris reported, “We need to continue to work together to reduce the number of new cases in our county. Our student-athletes and coaches have worked hard to limit the spread of the virus. Please help us by wearing a mask when in public, and washing hands frequently.”
Principal Harris continued, “In addition to sports these metrics will also be used to determine our ability to return to in-person learning. We are hopeful to return to school by our target date of September 28th. We will look at the metrics released every Thursday to determine if that is a possibility. I can assure you that we are excited to see our students return for in-person learning opportunities. Virtual learning will remain an option for students this year. We would also like to thank the Jackson County Health Department for their help in enabling us to make our return to work, return to sports, and return to school plans. They have worked with us to develop plans to keep our students and staff safe. We need the community's help to reduce the spread of the virus. Jackson County is a special place to work and live. Let's all work together to get our students back in the classrooms.”