Fayette County students, teachers, parents and staff waiting for answers

Posted at 7:43 PM, Jul 20, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Teachers, parents, students and Fayette County Public Schools staff members are still waiting to find out how the upcoming school year will start.

We learned last week that there is a meeting scheduled on Thursday where the superintendent is expected to present a plan for the school year to the school board. That is still three days away and barely a month before school starts.

"We wanna know what we're doing, when we're doing it, how we're doing it, and for how long we're doing it. And not having all of those pieces has been frustrating," said Jessica Hiler.

Hiler is the president of FCEA, which represents more than 1,000 Fayette County school teachers.

She says the list of concerns of every teacher begins and ends with the safety of their students in the classroom. But reopening in a pandemic is a source of anxiety at home.

"They're concerned about their families. They're concerned about what we do if we have a positive test in our classroom, or who quarantines. All of these unanswered questions," said Hiler.

Fayette County parents still don't know how or where their kids will go for school: the classroom or the kitchen table.

"Right now, I haven't planned simply because I don't know what I'm planning for. I'm trying to make a vessel to get me through unchartered waters. And that's really hard to do," said Priya Warrier.

Warrier has two children in elementary school and one child in middle school. If there is in-person instruction this fall, she also has many questions on what a classroom could look like in a new normal.

"Are all of their classmates coming in? Is it going to be as many children in their classes as there used to be before? Or half that? Do we have the space to allow them to be socially distanced and wear masks?" asked Warrier.

If the answer from Fayette County schools officials is a return to virtual learning there's also the matter of childcare. Like many other Fayette County parents, both she and her husband work, and will may need to find other adults they trust to help out.

"The question is entirely different from family to family. And everyone is waiting, and I think pretty soon we'll have some direction," said Warrier.

"The best to keep faculty and staff safe and students safe and healthy. But also make sure that students are getting the high quality instruction that we've been getting in Fayette County," said Jenkins.

Nicole Jenkins has two high school students and they both have different academic needs.

For her rising senior, she's hoping for flexibility in achieving graduation requirements. For her rising sophomore, she's hoping for an improved online learning experience to ensure there are no academic gaps.

"So he's for example taking Algebra 2 this year, Algebra 2 and Trigonometry. And so it's possible he may not get the whole portfolio of instruction that may occur because of the change in modality," said Jenkins.

As for Hiler, she is also a parent with two kids in school. She says if school started today, she would want them to begin virtually.

Flexibility, creativity, consistency, and patience may be in order for parents, teachers, and students this fall. But it's answers that are hoped for most of all right now.