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School districts in 'red zone' respond differently to Governor Beshear's recommendations

Posted at 5:33 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 19:19:33-04

(LEX 18) — After more than half of Kentucky counties landed in the COVID-19 "red zone," Governor Beshear asked all schools in those counties to go virtual starting Monday.

While some districts followed suit, others have opted to continue in-person learning.

Franklin County Schools announced their students would be moving to virtual learning starting next week.

For Franklin County Schools, today was the last day for split learning with in-person and virtual learning. Franklin County Superintendent Mark Kopp posted a video on the school district's Facebook page, explaining their decision for students to be completely virtual next week.

"When we made the decision last week to go back in-person, our number was at 10.6. And since that time, the number has increased all the way up, to today which is at 19.1," Kopp said.

Because of that, all students will start virtual learning on Wednesday, with being off of school on Monday and Tuesday. The Franklin County Schools announced just last week school that students could return to in-person learning this week but gave students who wish to continue with virtual learning the option to do so.

Kopp says the decision to have all students learn virtually was difficult. "Our teachers, our students, our staff members, and our parents have done a wonderful job complying with all of the mandates and really making sure we've made this work," Kopp said.

Kopp says he hopes school will be back for in-person learning soon, and the district will re-evaluate late next week for the following week.

Meanwhile, Scott County Schools will continue offering both virtual and in-person options.

"As long as the data keeps showing that the cases are not spreading at school and that the safety protocols that we have in place make a difference, we're going to keep open and in person," Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub said.

Hub said of the 17 schools in the district, nine have reported zero COVID-19 cases since schools started back in person about three weeks ago. He said of the remaining eight schools that there have never been more than three cases in one day at any school.

He attributes the low numbers to the county's strict safety protocols, including mask-wearing.

"The science behind wearing masks is making a difference," Hub said. "We know that because since we've been back, our numbers have remained very low of the positive cases."

The district reports 75% of its 10,000 students have opted for in-person learning. The district said it would continue to work with WEDCO to ensure that the option remains safe for students, faculty, and staff.

Jessamine County Schools sent a letter to parents Friday explaining that they will stick with in-person classes because the risk of spread within the school system remains low.