education

Owensboro Innovation Middle School

COVID-19 has caused many parents in Kentucky to lose their jobs or have their work hours cut back. The financial impact of the pandemic is adding homelessness to the challenge of virtual learning for some Owensboro students. 

Owensboro Innovation Middle School Youth Service Coordinator Amanda Hirtz said she’s working with three families who have suffered job losses during the pandemic, causing them to become homeless between March and August. 

Hirtz said students and families felt comfortable asking for help during these difficult times.


MGN

As COVID-19 continues to increase across Kentucky, the state K-12 dashboard asks schools to self-report student and staff cases, as well as the number quarantined.

The online resource shows that nearly 2,000 Kentucky students are currently in quarantine. 

The K-12 COVID-19 Dashboard weekly update also shows new cases statewide include 393 students and 189 staff. 

As for those in quarantine, the weekly update shows 1,976 students and 347 staff.  


Williamson County Schools via Facebook

There will be no negative consequences for schools and teachers related to standardized testing this school year, so long as the Tennessee General Assembly agrees. Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn are calling for the tests to be administered as usual but that the results not be used to judge the education system.

“We can’t fill in the gaps with reading or math or learning loss without understanding where they are,” Lee says. But he adds testing “will have to look different this year.”

Until now, Lee and Schwinn have resisted requests from local districts, including Williamson County Schools, asking for leniency on testing accountability or instructional requirements.

governor.ky.gov

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has launched a new interactive dashboard for cases of COVID-19 in grades K-12.

The site went live the week of Sept. 28 and schools are expected to self-report data about the virus.

State health officials want each school to update their information daily, including new COVID-19 cases among students and staff, as well as the number of students and staff in quarantine.

For example, as of Oct. 1, Greenwood High School in Warren County reported new cases among seven students and one staff member. 

Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Murfreesboro / Facebook

Tennessee’s colleges of applied technology are getting some outside help to address education inequity. That’s thanks in part to the Tennessee Board of Regents expanding an existing community college partnership with national nonprofit Achieving the Dream.

“During such a challenging time, it’s more important than ever to meet uncertainty with resilience, innovation, and a deepened commitment to student success and equity,” says Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream.

 


Fons Cervera

Warren County Public schools will continue with a hybrid schedule of classes through the end of the calendar year. 

The decision is based, in part, on the state’s new system that tracks the number of coronavirus cases in K-12 schools. 

Under the state’s new metric for reopening schools to in-person classes, Warren County is in the Red category, meaning a daily rate of 25 individuals per 100,000 have a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Gov. Andy Beshear is recommending any county in the Red category postpone all in-person learning until it reaches Yellow status, meaning less than ten confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 individuals. 

Logan County Schools

A case of COVID-19 has sent some Logan County students back to virtual learning. 

The three second-grade classes at Auburn Elementary have moved back to virtual learning for two weeks after a school employee tested positive for COVID-19. 

The News-Democrat and Leader reports the last day the employee attended work was Thursday, Sept. 10. Parents were notified of the positive case on Sunday, and second-graders returned to virtual learning on Monday.

Those students are expected to begin in-person classes again on Monday, Sept. 28. 

Dr. Deborah Birx Stops In Lexington To Discuss College Coronavirus Cases

Sep 15, 2020
Corinne Boyer | Ohio Valley ReSource

White House-appointed Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx visited the Lexington campus of the University of Kentucky on Monday as concerns grow over an escalating number of positive cases on campuses around the region. 

Dr. Birx met with students, faculty and administrators on the UK campus, which has more than 400 active COVID-19 cases, 86 of those confirmed since late last week.

She says hearing from multiple colleges to learn about their coronavirus plans will help determine what measures keep students safe.  

“We’re right now consolidating all of that information so that we can get that out to universities across the United States,” Birx said. “So they understand what it takes to open and stay open successfully, and what it takes to protect both the students and the communities where these universities are.”

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Department of Public Health has built a new data reporting system to track the spread of the coronavirus at K-12 schools.

The system arrives as school administrators make decisions about whether to hold classes virtually, in-person or using a hybrid model ahead of September 28. Governor Andy Beshear recommended schools wait until then to have any in-person classes, though some districts have already started.

Under the new system, parents and guardians are required to notify schools about students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Schools are then required to report those numbers, and how many people are in quarantine, on a public dashboard.

Sumner County Schools via Facebook

Sumner County students return to classrooms in person Tuesday as the district discards its hybrid schedule.

For the first two weeks, most students had been in classrooms just two days per week.

The district says it’s following its re-entry plan, which sought a return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. But the announcement still triggered nearly 700 comments on the district Facebook page, ranging from celebratory to distraught.

Sumner County reported 268 actively contagious cases coming out of the holiday weekend. The county has reported 87 deaths during the pandemic, the third-most in the state.

Maury Co. Schools/via Facebook

After weeks of pushback from parents, Tennessee will now make some data on school outbreaks public.

The Tennessee Department of Education says it will soon launch a new dashboard with district-submitted data.

The website is expected to go live on Tuesday, and it will have a map and search function of school districts and specific schools. The Education Department says it will be updated every Tuesday.

Gov. Bill Lee told reporters he recognizes there is a desire by parents to know more about what’s happening in their schools.

Somerset Independent Schools

The Somerset Independent School District is moving forward with plans to begin in-person classes for K-12 students on Sept. 8. 

Somerset schools will operate on a “purple-gold model”, with students showing up on a rotating schedule for the in-person classes.

The Commonwealth Journal reports the “purple” group will include students whose family name begins with the letters A-J.  Students in that group will attend Tuesdays and Thursdays. They will be the first ones to start the in-person classes next Tuesday, because there are no classes on Monday, Sept. 7, which is Labor Day.

The “gold” group consists of students whose family name starts with K-Z. They will be in class on Mondays and Wednesdays.


Liam Niemeyer | Ohio Valley ReSource

Tina Ryan knows the hallways of East Calloway Elementary better than most. Besides working as a school nurse here for 20 years, Ryan, who is 55, was also a student here herself. 

“I’m probably one of the older ones here as far as staff and things. Or maybe the oldest one here,” she said with a laugh. “I was happy to know I was coming to East Elementary when I got the job. Because I was an alumni here.”

A pencil-shaped sign that reads “Nurse’s Office” hangs in the hallway next to her door, with all the classic supplies of a veteran nurse inside: tongue depressors, a blood pressure cuff, itch cream — “bug bites all the time” — and loads of bandages and band-aids.

 


Lisa Autry

As colleges across Kentucky and the nation are back underway with in-person classes, students, parents and employees have multiple ways to get updates on COVID-19 cases on campus.

Technology has encouraged transparency in the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health online dashboard lists COVID-19 cases at colleges and universities across the state. The cases listed as of Aug. 27 include 550 students and 42 staff. 

Western Kentucky University reported 86 new cases in its weekly update posted Aug. 28 on its online dashboard. The total number of cases at the university since July 1 is 299, including students, faculty, staff and on-campus contractors.


Clinton Lewis | WKU

Monday marked the first day of the fall semester at Western Kentucky University.

Like schools across the country, COVID-19 safety precautions and restrictions are in place, and WKU students have been given choices on attending classes in-person, or studying remotely.

Just ahead of the start of the semester, WKU President Timothy Caboni spoke to WKU Public Radio about the school’s approach to conducting the elements of higher education amid a pandemic.


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