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Coleman Outlines KY Healthy Schools Initiative
By Tim Brockwell
PADUCAH - Kentucky Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman spoke virtually Thursday morning to the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce about steps being taken to help students and families transition into a new and very different looking school year.

Coleman was the featured speaker at the chamber's Power in Partnership breakfast, which met virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. She outlined aspects of Kentucky's Healthy Schools Initiative, which she says will make it easier for students, faculty and staff to stay safe and healthy when returning to classes.

"My family is feeling the anxiety and trying to find our way just like everyone else's is, not to mention my husband is a teacher as well. So, we are looking at this from every angle because it's the angle from which we are going to have to operate over the next few months just like all of the other school families are." Coleman said.

Coleman stressed the importance of being flexible and allowing different school districts to implement a plan that works for them. 

"We have worked to make sure our districts have flexibility. That was the key for me personally, was to allow flexibility," She said. "You might have some schools that are able to go back in person fully to classes, this was our thinking in the Spring. We might have some school districts who decide they want to implement some sort of hybrid model. And then some schools may decide what's best is to go fully digital."

Schools will also be able to take advantage of a new policy that eliminates restrictions on the number of non-traditional instruction days, which are typically used for short-term events such as winter weather.

"We waived the cap on NTI days. We extended an unlimited amount of non-traditional instruction days for our schools so that our school leaders could start the school year digitally and re-evaluate as we move forward." Coleman said. She added that teachers and staff will also be allowed to take unlimited emergency sick days in the event they become infected or exposed to the virus.

While Coleman says making these and other changes are necessary in light of the extraordinary circumstances many Kentucky residents are facing, she says having the funds to pay for them is just as important. That's why she recently wrote a letter to education officials in every state to ask for support in petitioning the federal government to release funding to pay for the programs she says are so vital right now.

"In a time when we are asking students to be flexible, and we are asking our parents and our families to be flexible, as well as our teachers and staff, we also need to make sure that we are asking for our funding for education is flexible as well." Coleman said.

Published 12:15 PM, Thursday Aug. 06, 2020
Updated 05:06 AM, Friday Aug. 07, 2020

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