coronavirus

Facebook/Bowling Green Independent Schools

Kentucky House lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that would require school districts to offer all students at least two days of in-person learning a week, beginning March 29. The measure’s passage adds to mounting state-level pressure on Jefferson County Public Schools to bring students back to the classroom. 

There are just six Kentucky school districts that have not yet brought students back to the classroom, most notably JCPS, the state’s largest district. The Jefferson County Board of Education will vote Thursday on whether to move forward on a plan to bring students back after staff are fully vaccinated.

Ana Studer

Educators across Kentucky, and the nation, are finding that the pandemic has caused a loss of academic progress, as students struggle with a roller coaster of schedules and remote learning.

Another major loss is the limitation, or suspension, of extracurricular activities.

The return of in-person learning in many Kentucky school districts may begin to make up for some of the gaps in social connection and academic progress. 

Teachers and students across Kentucky continue the monumental struggle to adapt to COVID-19 safety precautions.

But despite all the best intentions, the pandemic has blasted a hole in the social and academic structure of education. 


Hopkins Co. Schools

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order on Tuesday recommending that all school districts offer some type of in-person learning starting March 1 or within a week of vaccinations for school personnel. The order recommends that classes resume seven days after teachers and staff have received their second COVID-19 vaccinations, though the decision is being left to districts. 

The order also states that masks must be worn at all times in schools and during transportation to and from schools.  

“This is one of the number one ways that we can keep everybody in that school safe,” Beshear said. “And it’s going to be incredibly important, especially for districts that may go back for the first time, that this is strictly enforced as all of the studies that suggest there is low transmission are of districts that had and enforced a strong mask mandate.”

Kentucky To Open Vaccine Access To Phase 1C In March

Feb 22, 2021
Ryan Van Velzer

More than a million Kentuckians will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 1 when Gov. Andy Beshear says regional distribution centers will enter distribution phase 1C.

The state is expanding access to the vaccine following a sixth week of declining cases. Residents over the age of 60, those with high-risk health conditions and essential workers all fall under phase 1C — marking the single largest increase in access to date in the commonwealth.

Beshear said it’s an exciting moment, but with vaccine supplies still limited the state will first prioritize Kentuckians between the ages of 60 and 70.

“Understand there’s a lot of people in 1C,” Beshear said. “It means it may be challenging to get signed up in the beginning, but remember a lot of vaccine is on its way.”

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Department of Education is preparing to administer state assessments this spring, despite disruptions in learning brought on by COVID-19. The tests are expected to reveal the impact of the pandemic on student achievement.

The U.S. Department of Education, so far, has not granted waivers on statewide testing as it did for the 2019-2020 school year. In a Sept. 3 letter to Chief State School Officers, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote that states should not anticipate such waivers this academic year.

Kentucky administers tests in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and 10; in science at grades 4, 7 and 11; and in social studies and writing at grades 5, 8 and 11. 

In addition, students in 11th grade take a state administration of the ACT.


Montgomery County Health Department

Tennessee counties are saying goodbye to Signup Genius. Local health departments have been relying on the free scheduling website to coordinate COVID-19 vaccination appointments. But the state has now launched a customized online scheduling tool.

Cathy Montgomery leads the Williamson County Health Department, which is training on the system now and making the switch March 15. Nurses will now be armed with iPads accessing the patient information as they administered doses, she says.

“The system has a lot of tremendous features that we hope will certainly improve our processes and make things go a little bit faster for us,” Montgomery said during an online forum Friday.

Lisa Autry

Governor Andy Beshear says Kentucky is in a position to receive an influx of the COVID-19 vaccine when the first major shipment arrives next month. 

Beshear visited a Kroger Health mass vaccination site in Bowling Green on Friday. The clinic has already vaccinated some 2,300 people in the week since it opened.  Beshear said the state is getting about 80,000 doses of the vaccine each week, but has the capability to administer more than a quarter-million doses per week. 

“We can build out the infrastructure to when we get several hundred-thousand vaccines a week, that we are capable of already providing, that we can get them out quickly and our citizens do not have to wait," Beshear said. 

Close to 300 total vaccination sites are open in Kentucky, including 28 new ones announced on Thursday.  The additional vaccination clinics include locations in Albany, Campbellsville, Hartford, Bardstown, Owensboro, Somerset, Leitchfield, and Russellville.

White House officials on Friday confirmed the extent of the weather's chilling effect on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, saying this week's storms created a backlog of some 6 million doses affecting all 50 states.

That number represents three days' worth of delayed shipments, said Andy Slavitt, senior adviser on the White House COVID-19 Response Team. He added that many states have been able to cover some of the delay with their existing inventory, and that the Biden administration expects to make up the backlog shortly.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced that coronavirus restrictions will be loosened at some long-term care facilities in Kentucky this weekend.

The new guidance applies to assisted living, personal care homes and independent living communities. Indoor visitation, communal dining and group activities will continue for people who have completed the vaccination process starting Saturday. But it doesn’t apply to Medicare-certified facilities, such as skilled nursing facilities.

“What this means is once someone is better protected from this disease, we want them to be able to see their loved ones,” Beshear said. “Again, this doesn’t apply to the highest-level of care facilities yet.”

Lisa Autry

Some regional vaccination clinics in Kentucky are still offering the COVID-19 vaccine despite the winter storm. 

A clinic run by Kroger Health is open at Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green.  Bruce Kessler was there on Thursday and said he didn’t let the weather deter him from getting his first injection.  

“We’re fairly brave when we need to get out," Kessler said. "Front wheel drive vehicles are a marvelous creation, and I had been out yesterday and knew the roads were pretty okay where they had been scraped,   so I felt like we could get to the mall, no problem.”

Kessler received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine with his twin 18-year-old daughters.  His wife and son who are both educators have already received both doses.

Ryland Barton

A Kentucky judge urged Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron and GOP leaders of the legislature to come to a compromise in the power struggle over the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beshear sued to block three new laws that passed out of the Republican-led legislature earlier this month, arguing they would hamstring his ability to issue executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

During a virtual hearing on Thursday, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd said both parties have valid concerns that need to be resolved for the sake of Kentucky citizens.

Kentucky Gets Bump In Supply Of Vaccine Doses

Feb 17, 2021
Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday that the federal government is increasing Kentucky’s supply of vaccine doses by nearly a third in the coming week. 

“Starting next week we’re getting another 29% increase in our supply. That’ll mean since this new administration took over they have increased our weekly amounts by 57%,” Beshear said. 

Beshear said the state received about 53,800 doses in mid January and doses have increased in recent weeks. Next week it will receive approximately 87,800 doses.

Kentucky has recorded five cases of the B-1-1-7 variant of coronavirus first reported in the United Kingdom, Beshear said. By the end of March, he said, some health officials predict that more infectious strain could become the dominant variant found in the U.S.

Corinne Boyer | Ohio Valley ReSource

Kentuckians who need help paying rent and utilities during the pandemic can now apply for available funds online.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced during a coronavirus briefing Monday that the commonwealth has received $297 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for eviction relief.

“The healthy at home eviction relief fund follows earlier similar efforts to help our people stay in their homes, to pay their bills to landlords and to utilities and to get out of this pandemic without suffering from a significant amount of debt,” he said.

Beshear said tenants and landlords can apply; Tenants have to meet certain requirements. Late fees charges for past due rent must also be forgiven. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday that child care workers in Kentucky are now considered part of the 1B priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations.  The 1B group is currently the priority for getting the vaccine.

Beshear also reported 723 new cases of COVID-19 in his update. He said that’s the lowest number of new cases since Oct. 12, and further evidence that the state is seeing a positive downward trend in COVID-19 cases.

This is the fifth consecutive weeks the number of cases has declined.

The state is also seeing a decrease in the number of Kentuckians hospitalized, in the ICU, or on ventilators because of COVID-19.

Adam Schultz

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to cripple the economy in the Ohio Valley and President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats are pursuing his plan for economic recovery.

Biden’s economic priorities include raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, forgiving student loan debt, and undoing some Trump-era tax cuts. But Biden’s immediate focus is on his “American Rescue Plan” for economic recovery and ending the pandemic. Last month Biden laid out his two-step plan for rescue and recovery. 

“The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight,” Biden said while giving an address about the plan. “We have to act, and we have to act now.”Regional economists have weighed in on what the Ohio Valley needs and many are in agreement that the region is in need of financial aid, job creation and security, and a national plan to end the pandemic.


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