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Governor Beshear and Health Commissioner issue COVID-19 mode of instruction for K-12 for in-person and virtual classes

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 3:40 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -On Monday, Governor Andy Beshear stated there will not be another recommendation from his office after September 28 about in-person or virtual learning.

“So let me be clear that there is not going to be an overall recommendation coming from me or my office post on September 28th. What is going to be provided is the information to make a week by week decision in our various school districts and counties based on prevalence and what public health and experts believe is the right course based on that prevalence,” stated Governor Beshear.

If the state positivity is less than 6%, and if the hospitals or health care systems have the resources to care for COVID and non-COVID patients, then the model for schools the state has created as guidance is operative.

“Here is how this works you are supposed to check every Thursday. We put at 8 PM because we publish this every afternoon, late afternoon, and then of you do that you determine what color are you on the map. You don’t even have to look at the numbers you just have to look at your county and look at the color and it matches this. Whatever color you are you follow the instructions there,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner Department for Public Health.

Kentucky grid for schools
Kentucky grid for schools(Kentucky grid for schools)

If you are in the color green or yellow will follow the Kentucky healthy at school guidance.

If you hit orange it is recommended that you should consider whether you should do virtually only, hybrid or if you should still consider in person. That decision is up to the local school authorities make.

If you hit red you should suspend in-person instruction and you should go to virtual learning only. The area must move back to yellow in order to resume in-person instruction again.

An emergency regulation was also filed on Monday to make use of existing statutes that deal with schools during epidemics.

The emergency regulation creates a reporting structure which will be how both public and private schools grades K-12 will report COVID cases to the state of Kentucky, allowing the state to provide data to the public closer to real-time.

“From this statute that this regulation references, parents and guardians will now be required to report to their child’s school within 24 hours if their child tests positive for COVID-19. The school will have to define the process by which they would like that reporting to occur and we defer to the local’s schools to work with their communities to design that work for their parents and guardians to work with this information,” added Dr. Stack.

Once the school receives the information they will then have to report Monday through Friday-- everyday school is in session. The school reports to the state the number of new students, the number of new faculty and staff, the number of quarantine students, the number of quarantine staff, and those who are quarantined as a result of exposure to COVID-19 through school-related activities.

Under the new regulation no later than Monday, September 28 parents and guardians are required to report to the child’s school within 24 hours if their child tests positive.

The school will then report the information to the state every day the school is operational. The state will use this information to create a dashboard.

“It is also essential that parents and communities and teachers and staff have access to the information upon which to form informed decisions. This is going to be one of those tools this dashboard will have a number of features and in the top left you will be able to filter by the entire state of Kentucky, by the county, by the district where that is relevant. It is not relevant necessarily for private schools but for public schools but also by the individual schools so you will be able to filter that on the top left,” added Dr. Stack.

The dashboard provides several tools including a date in which the school last provided the state with data.

“The school will have to report these four numerical data elements plus one other that we will not share publicly which is whether they are doing in-person, virtual, or hybrid style of learning. That is to help us with tracking so that we can ensure we are tracking down the most federal aid we can to possibly help students who are doing virtual-only and who might otherwise not have access to other services they get through the school,” said Dr. Stack.

There will also be a table with data that provides the last 24 hours, the last 72 hours, the last 14 days, and then a total category.

This dashboard will provide the public with a sense of how many active cases and how many persons are quarantined from that school at the time.

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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