education

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.


Warren County Public Schools

Many Kentucky schools will welcome public school students next week for the first time in five months.  In March, the coronavirus sent students home to finish the school year online, and while many are ready to return to the classroom, a recent uptick of COVID-19 cases among children is complicating school reopening plans. 

Still, some traditional signs of getting back to school are being seen in communities throughout the commonwealth.

Mary Osborne and her daughter, Lillie, recently teamed up for a little back-to-school shopping at TJ Maxx in Bowling Green.  Lillie picked out leggings from the racks.


Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

For the second time, Gov. Bill Lee has changed his position on whether the state should release information regarding cases of COVID-19 in schools.

At a press conference Tuesday, Lee told reporters the state is erring on the side of privacy.

“It’s a balance,” Lee said. “It’s really important that people in a school district can’t figure out which children individually have a case.”

During the press conference, Lee and Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey initially cited federal health privacy laws — known as HIPAA — as a reason for not sharing data on school districts experiencing outbreaks or positive cases.

BGISD

Less than a week before the new school year starts, the superintendent of the Bowling Green Independent School District, Gary Fields, has tested positive for COVID-19. 

"On Friday, when I spoke to the Board of Education about returning to school, I said a reality of the current time is that positive cases of COVID-19 will occur and there will be times when students and staff are isolated or quarantined," Fields wrote in a Facebook post. "At the time of that statement, I did not realize how close that reality would be for me."

In a statement, Fields said he had an anti-body test on Thursday morning as a free service offered to all school district employees.  That afternoon, Fields was told he tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, but there wasn’t a need for him to isolate unless he developed symptoms.  He then received a nasal swab test, and on Monday evening, Fields says he learned the second test was positive.

Student Journalists Document the Pandemic in Appalachia

Aug 18, 2020
Madison Buchanan

“Hello,” the call began. “This is a prepaid debit call from an inmate at the Virginia Department of Corrections.”

Madison Buchanan, a 19-year-old college student, pressed 0 to accept the call and was connected to Jacob Alan Shouse, Offender Number 1101441.

“I want to thank you so much for helping me out with this,” Buchanan said.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s fine,” Shouse replied. “I’m all about new friends, new advocates, activists, anything positive.”


WCPS

The Warren County Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Monday to approve a new school reopening plan.

The district had to regroup recently after Gov. Andy Beshear recommended districts postpone in-person classes until Sept. 28.

In a webcast Friday afternoon, Superintendent Rob Clayton unveiled a compromise proposal that includes a hybrid schedule with both in-person and online instruction.  The first day of classes for Warren County students remains Aug. 24.  Clayton said the Barren River District Health Department supports his decision to proceed with in-person classes, and added the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Warren County has been declining the past 30 days, according to local data.

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