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Kentucky schools preparing for in-person learning

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 9:44 PM EDT
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RUSSELL, Ky. (WSAZ) - On Aug. 10, Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear made the recommendation that in-person learning should not begin for schools until Sept. 28, he said last week he would not be recommending an extension to that date.

Since then, districts who followed the recommendation have been finalizing plans to bring students back to class.

At Russell Independent, the district has moved up their original date from late October to the Sept 28. start.

Inside Russell Middle School, there are signs along the floor directing students in particular directions and reminding them to follow social distancing.

“We’re set up pretty good right now,” said Superintendent Sean Horne. “But this changes daily too. Where we’re going to have kids come in, how we are going to do lunches. We had to expand our cafeteria so we will have some kids in the cafeteria and we’re going to be using our gymnasium to pull off lunch.”

Districts in Kentucky will be following a similar color code system to what West Virginia has in place for school. The only exception is Kentucky’s system is more of a guidance unless a county is in red. They will need to stop in-person learning in that case. Greenup County is in the orange as of Monday.

“Our expectation is to be able to still hold true to that,” said Horne. “But it would not be out of the realm of possibility that we need to extend it a little bit more and remain virtual.”

However, classrooms are still going to be ready. Teachers are redesigning their classrooms to follow the guidelines.

“We have to make sure every kid is facing the same way,” said science teacher Brad Cornwell. “We have to make sure every kid is masked up, especially where I have the tables instead of the desks. That’s going to be another hidden challenge because of the layout of the tables.”

But perhaps the most difficult challenge teachers will face is the inability to have close connections to their students, especially those who don’t get that attention at home.

“It’s just one of those issues to where we’re going to try to do the best we can,” said Cornwell. “Not to quote McDonald’s or anything but, a smile is a hug from six feet away. We have to show these kids we care about them without being able to get real close and talk with them like we normally get to do.”

Districts will know by Thursday evenings if they’ll be able to have in-person learning for the next week based on Kentucky’s color map.

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