Ky. education officials closely watching COVID-19 developments as new school year approaches

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 12:01 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Education officials are closely watching developments with the COVID-19 pandemic as the start of the new school year inches closer.

Schools in Somerset and Pulaski County are still scheduled to start on August 24, albeit in a virtual format until late September.

The calendar says the start of the new school year is still two weeks away, and Somerset Independent Schools Superintendent Kyle Lively says they have worked hard to welcome students back.

A lot of that planning involves a mask mandate.

“When you’re moving you’re masked,” Lively said. “And then in a classroom, you can be 6 feet apart, obviously we would like to give kids a break to take those off and for the instructor.”

Numerous signs are in the hallways to signal the direction to walk. Desks are spread apart.

But now both the Kentucky Education Association and Governor Beshear are recommending another delayed start to in-person instruction.

During his Monday COVID-19 press conference, Gov. Beshear recommended school districts wait until September 28 before going back to in-person classes.

“We’ve been going along with those guidelines and his recommendations,” Lively said. “He’s looking at it from a 10-mile view. We are looking at it from our focal point, we would respect that, we typically fall in line with the commissioner of education, fall in line with that. I know there’s a lot of questions and a lot of possibilities.”

Another virtual meeting with state education leaders and health officials took place Monday. They’re closely watching what has taken place in other states who have already reopened to in-person instruction.

“I do know the school in Georgia, they posted the hallway that looked like a cattle call of kids all swarmed together in the hallway, they had 6 had cases now,” said Dr. Connie White, Dept. for Public Health

Lively says he is concerned about the kids who have a much more difficult time learning at home and may not have the support to learn at home other children have.

The interim education commissioner has also asked that, when possible, all-school meetings, training and other activities be done virtually.

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