Beshear Outlines Guidelines for Reopening Schools
By Cynthia Howe
FRANKFORT - In his update on Wednesday, Governor Andy Beshear outlined guidelines for reopening Kentucky schools this fall and updated Kentuckians on the latest COVID-19 numbers.

Gov. Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, and Interim Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education Kevin Brown, released long-awaited initial guidance for Kentucky schools looking ahead to opening this coming fall. 

"One of my top priorities as we have fought against the coronavirus is ensuring our children can safely return to school in the fall," said Gov. Beshear. "Our top health experts and our educators have worked together to craft this guidance to take the necessary steps to protect our children and our dedicated staff as they return to school."

Brown introduced these guidelines, which have been divided into five components:

1) Social Distancing - Social distancing of 6 feet will be required in the classroom. When this is not possible, students may be seated closer together, but masks will be required.

2) Personal Protective Equipment and Masks - Students in first grade and above will be required to wear masks at certain times. This includes when students are on the school bus, whenever students are moving, and whenever social distancing of at least 6 feet is not possible. Students will be required to wear masks in the classroom unless they can maintain six feet between themselves and others.

3) Screening - Temperature checks or parental assurance that a child does not have a temperature greater than 100.4 will be required before getting on the bus. All students must have a temperature check before entering the school building. This section also addresses when a child needs to stay home or be sent home, including a temperature greater than 100.4, cough, vomiting/diarrhea, a new rash, or exposure to a COVID-19 case withing 48 hours.

4) Sanitation and Environmental Factors - This section will include guidance for schools on how school districts need to clean facilities and buses.

5) Contact Tracing - Districts will cooperate with local health departments in the instance of a COVID-19 case within the school. For example, contact tracers may need information on bus or classroom seating charts.

Lt. Governor Coleman addressed measures which the state has taken to allow flexibility for school districts in order to support them as they implement these safety expectations.

First, the 10-day limit on non-traditional instruction has been suspended for the 2020-2021 school year, so that the Kentucky Board of Education may grant the authority for an unlimited number of NTI days for the school year. This will allow schools to use NTI days as needed if they need to close schools due to COVID-19.

Second, a statute requiring the use of average daily attendance as a means for calculating state funding for school districts will also be temporarily suspended for the 2020-2021 school year. 

"This provides flexibility to school districts to receive funding in the event that schools need to operate a blended in-person and digital instruction in response to COVID-19," said Coleman.

Coleman said schools will be allowed to develop models that work best for their communities, including when to start school and whether to use traditional in-person instruction, non-traditional instruction, or some combination of the two. 

Beshear reported 229 new cases on Wednesday, for a total of 14,363 cases. One death was reported on Wednesday, an 89-year-old man from Laurel County. This brings the total number of deaths in Kentucky to 538. There are currently 335 Kentuckians who are hospitalized due to the virus, with 79 individuals in the ICU. At least 3,706 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

You can see Beshear's full update below:

Published 03:35 PM, Wednesday Jun. 24, 2020
Updated 09:10 AM, Thursday Jun. 25, 2020



Most Commented Stories