Following the initial decision, which would have seen students able to attend class in-person beginning Thursday, school system officials sent out a survey to faculty, asking for their feedback.
While the individual surveys were not publicly available, Board Chair Kim Croley and Superintendent Dave Cox said there were concerns expressed concerning reopening the schools to in-person with the county’s COVID–19 incidence rate so high.
The incidence rate reported by the state daily for Whitley County has been steadily increasing in the last week, and was at 50.4 on Tuesday.
The number is based on the average daily number of new COVID–19 cases per 100,000 of population. It is determined based on a seven-day rolling average of the number of new COVID–19 cases.
Under the guidelines provided by Gov. Andy Beshear when he announced local school districts would determine when in-person classes may resume, anything above 25 is considered critical.
“We should have been more diligent coming to you,” Croley told the faculty and staff who attended Tuesday’s meeting.
“We need your ultimate honesty about everything!” Croley told them.
Cox agreed that it was an error not to reach out to the teachers, telling them that he has always strived to have an open-door policy with them.
“If there is an issue, please don’t hesitate to call,” Cox said.
Cox added that while there are a number of the active COVID–19 involving college students and nursing homes, he spoke with Whitley County Health Department Director Marcy Rein about the how big a factor they are compared, to the general public at large.
Cox said Rein told him that even with the numbers from those two groups removed, Whitley County’s incidence rate would still be in the red zone.
Following up on the surveys, the board agreed to have classes remain virtual through fall break, which is scheduled for Oct. 15 and 16.
In addition, the board agreed to follow the governor’s guidelines, and use the incidence rate number to determine whether in-person classes would be held the following week.
Under the guidelines, the period from Friday through the following Thursday would be used to determine each county’s incidence rate.
Based on the number posted on the www.kycovid19.ky.gov website on Thursday night, students will either attend virtually, or have the option of attending under Corbin’s revised hybrid plan.
Under that plan, hybrid students would be randomly divided into one of two groups. Group A would attend in person Monday and Tuesday and virtually Thursday and Friday. Group B would attend virtually Monday and Tuesday and in-person Thursday and Friday. All students would attend virtually on Wednesday to permit extensive cleaning of the schools.
As part of the hybrid plan, siblings would be assigned to the same group to match up their schedules.
In addition, Cox said if one school saw a spike in COVID–19 cases, that school could be placed on virtual learning, while the hybrid plan remained in place in the remainder of the district.
I need our parents to understand that we all need to be flexible and have a backup plan for their students,” Croley said noting it could be a quick decision.
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