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Bill that offers remote instruction days advances

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 4:10 PM EST
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BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) - Due to staffing shortages and a high number of students absent, Boyd County Schools moved to non-traditional instruction.

Bill Boblett said approximately 14% of students in the school district are out of the classroom due to quarantine and isolation. On Tuesday, staff absenteeism reached an all-time high of 71 people.

“It’s a struggle. We had to move to NTI due to mainly staffing issues,” said Boyd County Public Schools Superintendent Bill Boblett. ”Yesterday, we had similar numbers also.”

The district plans to return to in-person instruction on Tuesday, Jan. 18 due to the MLK Jr. Holiday on Monday.

“Our teachers are in the classrooms, and they’re working with kids remotely. Fortunately or unfortunately, we have a lot of experience on this,” Boblett said. “Last year, our school district did remote learning for most of it. We know that in-person instruction is the best, and all types of research show being in the building is best for kids. They flourish with other students, peers, and teachers.”

A bill offering remote instruction days could offer assistance to school districts when faced with a high number of quarantines.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, said the high priority for education is to maximize in-person learning as much as possible.

“These are not non-traditional instruction days,” Wise said. “These are remote instruction days which are the equivalent of a day’s worth of education. It is not a packet that is being sent home. These are full instructional days.”

Boblett said if the legislation passes, it provides a working solution for school districts.

“I think it’s huge with the surge of cases that we’re seeing in our staff and students that would allow us to pinpoint schools that are having some specific issues and move only that school onto non-traditional instruction instead of the whole district,” Boblett said.

In addition to the instructional component, the bill seeks to curb staffing shortages by allowing more retired teachers to return on a full-time basis by allowing the use of federal funds to pay for added costs related to teacher shortages.

The measure, Senate Bill 25, passed off the House Health and Family Services Committee on Thursday after passing Tuesday in the Senate by a 31-2 vote.

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