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JCPS schools could reopen by mid-February depending on teacher vaccination plan

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 4:48 AM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky’s largest school district is counting on COVID-19 vaccinations to resume in-person classes safely in the new year.

During a board meeting Tuesday, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio suggested elementary students could return to school buildings by mid-February. He said the timeline all depends on how soon teachers become vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) will ultimately vote on the plan to resume in-person learning. Pollio said he would have more information for board members at their next meeting scheduled for Jan. 5.

“As difficult and as challenging as it has been and I know it’s been for everyone in the JCPS family and I’m thankful for that, we are close to getting to a point where we can return safely once we implement our vaccination plan,” Pollio said.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health and Gov. Andy Beshear recommended a return to in-person learning no sooner than Jan. 11. Pollio on Tuesday said his recommendation to reopen schools would include a phased in approach that would likely begin a month later.

“As we move into post-holiday spread, I do not see where we will be dropping into a safe area at Jan. 11 either,” he said. “I do see our quickest path to returning to school is the vaccine, but if we do drop substantially, I will give you a recommendation that puts us back in school.”

Pollio on Tuesday presented a vaccine roll out proposal, created in conjunction with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. The plan includes vaccinations for “school based” personnel first, including substitute teachers, in a potential drive through event. The same employees would receive a booster shot 21 days later with schools opening two weeks after that.

Pollio clarified teachers for preschool, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade would be vaccinated first.

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