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.”

facebook/Bowling Green Schools

New guidelines for Kentucky schools, allowing some in-person instruction, will go into effect Jan. 4.

Currently, the Bowling Green Independent School District has virtual only instruction in accord with Gov. Andy Beshear’s order last month to temporarily suspend in-person classes to slow the spread of COVID-19.

During this remote learning, schools are allowed to have "targeted services" with in-person instruction for small groups of students.

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Bowling Green Schools Superintendent Gary Fields about how the district is using these "targeted services" to assist students who are at-risk of falling behind during virtual only learning.

Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky Department of Education's first ever chief equity officer has experience with adversity, segregation, and public schooling.

The Arkansas native and nationally honored former school superintendent, Dr. Thomas Woods-Tucker, plans on taking those lessons with him to the Bluegrass State.

The Kentucky Board of Education issued a resolution in July declaring its commitment to addressing inequality. It was a move that helped convince Woods-Tucker to take the position.

During a conversation this month WKU Public Radio, just days after starting the job, Deputy Commissioner Woods-Tucker said few other states have taken that step.

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.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The KyCOVID-19 website now includes a “K-12 Public Health Report” that lists schools across the state and the number of cases of the virus reported among students and staff. 

The"K-12 Public Health Report" is divided into two sections. The first is the number of cases in each of 99 school districts. 

The latest numbers show that Barren County Schools have had a total of 12 students and 2 staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Bowling Green Independent Schools have had 11 cases among students and 2 among staff. 

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.

Creative Commons

In March, as the state hunkered down for a pandemic, Kentucky schools launched one of their largest educational experiments ever: remote learning for every child.

It was an unprecedented challenge requiring unprecedented creativity. To reach their students, educators made phone calls and left voicemails, wrote text messages and emails, led Zoom sessions and Google Hangouts, and when all else failed, some made old-fashioned home visits. 

State data would suggest that around 90% of Kentucky students participated in this non-traditional instruction, or NTI, a state program for school districts to continue teaching when classes would otherwise be canceled.