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Ky. education officials tell committee they want more local control over new school year

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 4:09 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Some school leaders want more local control over how this new school year is going to start.

That’s what several educators told lawmakers in a panel meeting at the state capital in Frankfort Tuesday.

The chairman of the interim panel wanted lawmakers to hear from those representing school superintendents and school boards.

“I think our folks, our local school board members, are frustrated and shocked, about some of the things said about schools, about them,” said Eric Kennedy, Kentucky School Boards Association.

Kennedy told legislators that decisions affecting local districts should be made on a local level and he says many favored a plan to put children in the classroom..based on national data.

“Which are primarily doctors in both fields, have said, ‘you should err on the side of providing in-person instruction as much as possible, as safely as possible,” Kennedy said.

Dennis Buschman, who also leads junior ROTC in Rowan County, says he doesn’t understand why kids cannot be back in school when he says the flu has proven to be more deadly for young people than COVID-19.

Buschman says the one size fits all approach isn’t a good idea based on only one pediatric suspected death linked to COVID-19.

“The death rate from this particular age group is 0.001%,” Buschmann said. “So, if anyone in this age group contracts the virus they have a nearly 100% survival rate. so why are our schools closed?”

But some lawmakers said the concern is more for who the asymptotic kids would later infect.

“Even though the statistics are low for them, but when they go home to grandma or grandpa or mom or dad, then those statistics,” said Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville. “That’s where the rub is.”

Some school officials say they followed the governor’s recommendation for fear of consequences or liability they might face if they didn’t.

The panel also heard from several high school seniors who said a recent survey indicated students are most concerned about their mental health, family’s finances and post-secondary education options during the pandemic.

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