Mason County and Bracken County schools have released their reopening plans.
Mason County Schools will reopen on Aug. 24 and will look different for students.
According to Mason County Schools Superintendent Rick Ross, students in grades K-5 will attend school all day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be an early dismissal day at noon.
“As far as student attendance, we thought it vital that students in grades K-5 be able to attend school everyday,” Ross said. “We have to hire additional staff, which has not happened yet. Students will always be under the supervision of their teacher, even if they’re not with them every day.”
Students in grades 6-12 will be asked to attend on an A/B schedule. Some students will attend Monday and Tuesday and some will attend on Thursday/Friday. Wednesdays will be used for cleaning, interventions and special projects.
Special education students will be able to attend both the A and B schedules, as will Magnet School students, according to Ross.
Ross said masks will be required when social distancing is not possible.
“People are not wearing masks and they’re not wearing them all day — I’m not going to ask our students to do that. Our plan, I feel, is very fair regarding the use of face masks. Mostly on the school bus, but when the bus is loading and emptying at the end of the route; once you can get six feet apart, they will not be required.”
Masks will be required when moving throughout the halls, but not while in class. Temperatures will also be taken when students attend school.
According to Ross, there is also a childcare option at the YMCA for students in preschool and those in 6-8 grade when they are not in school.
“There will be a 100 percent online option. Though we know in-person is far superior, every family situation is different. If you have an at-risk family member, we respect that and will offer a 100 percent online option. You will still be a part of a class.”
Ross said there is new information coming out every day about returning to school and asks that parents be patient with the district.
“This plan is fluid,” he said. “It’s frustrating for us, it’s frustrating for you. We are doing the best we can. We hope to have everything finalized by the beginning of August, but even then, things are fluid. We understand this plan may change. The 2020-21 school year will be a school year like no other. Let’s do our best to make it great for the students of Mason County.”
There is a survey on the Mason County Schools website that parents are asked to fill out before July 21.
More information on the district’s plan can be found at https://www.masoncoschools.com/Content/mcreopen2020?fbclid=IwAR0-F77W_0iMisGoi0q-0c4p_UHxZNmNImO87ZdQrNJk_8-XDhrFHXzfC6E.
The Bracken County Board of Education voted to start the 2020-21 school year on Sept. 9.
Bracken County Schools Superintendent Jeff Aulick presented several options to the board. One option included starting on Aug. 24 and having seven hour days that would add 25-30 minutes to each day. The other option was to start on Sept. 9.
“Calendar D, which I would recommend to the board is a start date of Sept. 9, with all breaks remaining the same in the original calendar,” he said. “The last student day would be May 13.”
Aulick said that is the best option for students and staff.
“This would give our teaching staff some time to plan,” he said. “It would give our administration some time and our cleaning staff time to mobilize. It’s just the right move.”
Aulick said starting on Sept. 9 would mean seven hour days.
Board member Andy Reynolds said he agreed it was the best move.
“I’m a huge fan of the Sept. 9 start date,” he said. “I don’t see many negatives. The part about it that I like is this thing is fluid. We never know if this is going to change daily and I don’t think we would have to reinvent the wheel — we can sit back and see what’s going to happen with other districts. I think we can see what we need to do and what we don’t need to do by other districts.”
According to Aulick, most of the surrounding districts plan to start around Aug. 24 or Aug. 26.
“I’ve heard of the 24th, the 26th,” he said. “I’ve heard of a couple who are starting around the same time we are, but most seemed to be around the 24th.”
Recently, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear released guidelines for school districts to reopen. Some of those guidelines include students wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Superintendents have been working with those guidelines in order to come up with a schedule.
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