Some Ky. school districts struggling with COVID spreading among students

Some Ky. school districts struggling with COVID spreading among students
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 3:45 PM CDT
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WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s the start of a new school year, but some districts are already struggling with COVID spreading among their students.

The Wolfe County School District is less than two weeks into its new academic year, but COVID is already causing trouble in the classroom.

“Our attendance yesterday was 82%. Normally for the sixth or seventh day of the school year we’re at 99%,” Superintendent Kenny Bell said.

Bell said those numbers dropped again Friday. With just 79% of students in attendance, that means around 240 missed classes.

He said the virus has spread among teachers and staff as well, and the absences are taking a toll.

“A big concern is of course with funding, we lose a lot of money staying open,” Bell said.

Parents said moving to NTI days is probably the right choice, given how many students are currently missing classes. But Bell said he wants to make sure that students learn in person as much as possible.

The superintendent is asking people to take steps to stay safe.

“While we’re in the red we recommend mask wearing. We’re not requiring it, but we highly recommend that students wear masks to stay safe and we recommend at home testing as much as you can,” Bell said.

But Bell believes this will be a persistent problem faced by his district and others, so he’s determined to keep his students in schools.

“It’s going to be an issue at some point. I’m afraid with the way things are trending right now. I’ve talked with other superintendents and they’re seeing similar things as Wolfe County is,” Bell said.

The county is in the red, like much of eastern Kentucky, so Bell is recommending, but not requiring, that people wear masks at school.