LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The first group of Fayette County Public Schools students will be returning to in-person learning starting February 22.
K-2 students have the option of returning to the classroom as COVID-19 cases continue to decline in the county.
The district anticipated the “graduated return” would begin on Tuesday, but the start date was delayed due to the winter weather.
Candis Morgan said her 6-year-old daughter, Royalty, is ready to put virtual learning behind her.
“She was so excited. We bought a new backpack, new clothes, and tried to make it like the beginning of the year. You know how it is for kids, it’s that fun, fun day,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s family has been heavily involved in local protests demanding a return to in-person learning. She said the news that FCPS would be inviting some students back into the schools was exciting, but she’s wary of the future.
“I’m so terrified that we’re going to get into school, get in the routine, and they’re going to shut us down again,” Morgan said. “I honestly think if we get in this routine and they shut us down, it’s going to be mentally damaging for these kids. Emotional, mental, a whole bunch of things.”
Morgan isn’t alone in her concerns. Katie Kroeger has a kindergartener, second and fourth grader. She made the decision to transfer her youngest to a different school district months ago while her other children remained in virtual learning through FCPS. Her second grader will be on his way to school come Monday, but her fourth grader is excluded from the group returning.
“She’ll be the only kid in the house after 11 months of having three kids in the house,” Kroeger said. “I think it’s definitely taking more of a toll on her than my other kids.”
Kroeger said she hasn’t told her second grader he’s going to be learning in-person yet. She’s waiting until the night before to have the conversation.
“We've got his backpack packed and he's ready to go. I'm just trying not to get his hopes up about it until really the night before and we know that it’s going to happen,” she said.
Kroeger said she believes all age groups should have the option for in-person learning at the same. However, she said she doesn’t have confidence that the school district will keep students in face-to-face instruction through the end of the school year.
“I just took it with a grain of salt. We're just kind of still taking it one day at a time and trying not to get too excited about things because I'm very nervous that things will get pulled,” Kroeger said.
COVID-19 cases in Fayette County are declining currently. However, if cases begin to increase, the district could return to virtual learning.
The option for in-person instruction is currently only available to K-2 students. Grades 3-5 will be offered face-to-face instruction as early as March 3. A determination on when grades 6-12 can return has not been made.