Much is still unknown about how the COVID-19 pandemic will unfold during the summer and into the fall. At the recommendation of Gov. Andy Beshear, KDE is encouraging schools to prepare for three contingencies for the start of the school year: an early opening (maybe late July), a traditional opening (August) and a late opening (Labor Day). Another possibility being discussed is scheduled rotations. Under a scheduled rotation model, the school would assign students to groups that would attend school on alternating patterns, such as A-B days, AM/PM patterns or alternating weeks. This method relies on several flexible variables, such as student grouping, staff grouping, days of the week or the time of day.
This option may be helpful to schools with limited mobile technology. Mary Ruble, executive director of the Kentucky Education Association said districts may want to think about identifying students without internet access and prioritize bringing them onsite. “Prioritizing those students probably won't violate social distancing and classroom capacity requirements,” she said.
The state officials that this reporter spoke with explained the situation like this: “We know we need to get busy planning for next year but we just aren’t exactly sure of all the details that we should be planning for.” That is because of the uncertainty at this time of the nature of the pandemic at the time school would need to reopen. Will the guidance being utilized to reopen the economy be sufficient to keep another spike of infections from occurring? Will the occurrence of Pediatric MultiSystem Inflammatory Syndrome show more children negatively impacted with COVID-19? These will remain unknowns until the data and experiences reveal them. The Jackson County Public School District has issued a statement regarding their plans for the upcoming year. This current plan plan stresses that the District will be working closely with the Kentucky Department of Education and local Health Department to ensure the safety and welfare of the students.
The statement from Superintendent Smith reads as follows:
“In an effort to provide open communication with parents, guardians and the community, we would like to share with you our current plans for our re-entry to school for the upcoming school year.
At this time, our current plan is to begin school in a traditional manner with Opening Day for students set for Thursday, August 6, 2020. We hope to follow a traditional model/schedule, but are preparing alternative plans in the event that we receive recommendations and guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education and/or our local Health Department to deviate from our traditional planned schedule.
Our school system participates in weekly webinars and video conferences with the Kentucky Department of Education in order to stay informed of the latest updates and guidance. We will communicate any recommended changes in the quickest manner possible so that you may plan for the upcoming school year.
Again, our current plan is to have a traditional approach and opening to the upcoming school year. We will be in close communication with the Jackson County Health Department, as we have been throughout this process. Always a priority among priorities for Jackson County Public Schools is the safety and well-being of our students and staff.”