LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With school in session and COVID-19 cases surging, school districts across Kentucky are working to figure out the quarantine process for their students.
Melissa Jones said when she sent her kids off for their first day of class, she was just excited to have them back face-to-face.
Two of her three kids were placed in quarantine less than a week into the school year after being exposed to COVID-19.
“I didn’t think about what we needed to do if we got in quarantine because I guess I didn’t expect it on the fourth day of school,” Jones said.
Jones’ youngest son, Mason, is in transitional kindergarten. She said he’s doing well because the school work isn’t taxing anyways.
“They had to do one little assignment and everything else was optional because of how young they are,” Jones said.
Her eldest, Emerson, is an eighth-grader at Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS). Jones said she’s worried he needs more than what he’s getting in quarantine right now, especially as an advanced student.
Emerson has access to all his assignments and resources to help him learn the subject, according to Jones.
But when he gets stumped, Jones said there’s a delay in getting help since he can’t ask for help on the spot and has to wait for his teachers to respond to emails.
“He stresses so badly because he wants good grades and his biggest fear is to get behind and not be able to catch up,” she said. “It’d be nice to be able to actually hear a person or be able to ask a question.”
Jones said she believes educators are doing a great job adapting to everything the pandemic has thrown at them, but she wishes virtual learning resources were more readily available.
FCPS spokesperson Lisa Deffendall said learning instruction must continue for all students, but instruction delivery changes case-to-case.
“Sometimes there is the capacity to do synchronous instruction and sometimes it's asynchronous. It really depends on the teacher, the student, the school, the class. It varies, but our priority is to ensure that every student who is in quarantine and is not ill has the ability to continue learning,” Deffendall said.
Deffendall said quarantined students can talk to teachers individually about the possibility of gaining access to recordings of a class if that is what they need to maximize their learning, but it is not in the district’s power to require all classrooms offer virtual access.
“Previously, school districts across the state had more flexibility about whether to move to a virtual option. At this time, it would take state-level intervention to give school districts that flexibility again,” she said.
Deffendall said the goal is to help all students keep up with what is missed in person, but it will take communication and collaboration to ensure every student has what they need to succeed.
If a family decides that for medical reasons in-person learning is not the best method of learning for their student, Deffendall said families have the option to apply for the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) full-time.
593 students are currently in the VLA.