FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Beshear says starting Monday, Nov. 23, all public and private schools (K-12) will cease in-person instruction beginning on Nov. 23.
The move to virtual learning is part of the governor's new restrictions, which were announced during a Wednesday news conference.
Gov. Beshear says middle schools and high schools will remain in remote instruction until Jan. 4, 2021. Elementary schools may reopen on Dec. 7 if their county is not in the "red zone" and the school follows all Healthy at School guidance.
"This virus, at its level right now, is and will overwhelm each and every one of our schools if we do not take action," said Gov. Beshear.
The governor says all public universities will teach 100% virtually by Monday for the rest of the year.
"We've asked our private universities and colleges to do the same," said Gov. Beshear. "Most of them will certainly be there by Thanksgiving; we've asked them to move that timeline up."
As the virus escalates, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said it is imperative that Kentucky’s school and district leaders continue to model healthy behaviors in their communities.
"We urge you to continue stressing the importance of wearing a mask and following the guidance issued by the Kentucky Department for Public Health," she said. "In order to get our students back in school, and keep our teachers and school staff safe, we need to unite as Team Kentucky in these critical efforts.”
Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass agreed with Beshear's decision to issue the executive order as it will "provide the clarity that our districts desperately need."
"Schools in Kentucky have been doing an amazing job managing COVID-19, but virus levels in our community are making normal school operations impossible and we also have to consider the increasing risks to our students, families and staff members," he said. "It is our expectation at the Kentucky Department of Education that all of our schools and districts will follow this order and ensure they are doing their part in keeping our communities safe."
Though the order is expected to suspend in-person instruction, it will not prohibit schools from providing in-person targeted services to small groups.