Kentucky schools continue to await direction, prepare for all possibilities

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 5:56 PM EDT
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More than two weeks ago Kentucky School Superintendents were told to prepare three separate school calendars.

With little guidance on which option would be chosen, an early start, and on-time start, and a late start option were all requested by state officials to be prepared should one of those be the best way to handle the coronavirus in schools.

In a recent call with State Health Commissioner, Dr. Steven STack school superintendents were given a glimpse into what safety precautions may be put into place.

Options like all healthy students and staff wear masks, stronger social distancing in classrooms, and on busses.

For districts across the state, superintendents are proud of the work done by students and staff to end the year.

"I will go back to when this all started to give you an example of how well our teachers do in a situation like this," Paintsville Schools Superintendent David Gibson said.

The district Gibson oversees has just more than 800 students. He doesn't see that as an advantage or disadvantage to all the possibilities on the table.

"We have the staff, the teachers, the student body that if we set our minds to it we can do anything," Gibson said.

In his office is a board that has all the questions they need to answer when it comes to what they have to get prepared before they possibly return to the classroom.

"I'm more than confident that no matter what obstacles are thrown at our teachers they're able to overcome them. It's not a matter of what they can and can't do it's about what's best for our students," Gibson said.

In Perry County, Jonathan Jett is the Superintendent of the County Schools and doesn't find his job inherently more or less complicated by having a student body of more than 3,900 kids.

"We're gonna have to lay out all the options on the table and see how the virus is increasing and decreasing and then make a decision that is possibly the safest for our students and staff," Jett said.

His district is conducting a

seeing how comfortable parents are with sending their kids back to school.

"We're hopeful that we can start back in August but the reality of it we know that that may not be possible at all with in-person classes," Jett said.

For Jett, he believes there is going to have to be a little creativity in order to get kids back to school, and safely.

"It's going to come down to having a group of creative thinkers and put together plans that are best for our students and staff," Jett said.

As for Gibson, he doesn't care how convenient or inconvenient the plan may be, he is worried about safety.

"I don't look at what's easier, you got to look at what's best and what's best for our students. If what's best for our students in person full 100 percent that's what we'll do. If what's best for our students is a hybrid model that's been talked about a lot that's what we'll do. If it's not that's what we think is best, that's what we'll do," Gibson said.

Both say they'll continue to join the weekly call with the Kentucky Department of Education and communicate with health officials, hoping more clarity comes for schools across the Commonwealth.