Answering a request from Gov. Andy Beshear, Warren County Public Schools revised its start date Thursday, settling on Aug. 24 for the beginning of in-person and online classes.
“Our plan is to move forward on Aug. 24,” Superintendent Rob Clayton said, adding that could also include a virtual start for all students if the coronavirus crisis continues to worsen.
“In the event that COVID-19 cases continue to rise … then we’ll start all virtual,” he said.
The revised school calendar the district’s school board approved Thursday also includes several distance learning days for students who choose in-person instruction, with the first such day Aug. 28. Other distance learning dates include Sept. 8, Oct. 2, Nov. 2, Dec. 14, Jan. 19, Feb. 16 and April 2.
The decision came after Beshear asked schools across the state Monday to delay reopening for in-person instruction until the third week of August at the earliest. On Wednesday, both BGISD and Warren County Public Schools answered that call in a joint statement.
“It is the intent of BGISD and WCPS to delay the start to the 2020-21 school year, and both anticipate a proposed start date of August 24, 2020, for virtual and in-person classes. It is also the intent of both districts to provide in-person classes as soon as permitted for the thousands of families in our community that have requested that option and depend on our schools to serve their children,” the school districts announced.
The Bowling Green Independent School District took similar action Wednesday, with its school board voting to delay the start of in-person and online classes until Aug. 24 at the earliest. However, the district left open the option of all students starting remotely Aug. 24 if public health guidelines change amid rising coronavirus cases.
BGISD students who choose to attend school in-person will do so on alternating schedules between Monday and Thursday for the first two weeks, before schools fully reopen Sept. 8. Fridays during that two-week period will be given over to distance learning.
Warren County Public Schools has offered its students the choice of either in-person or online instruction through a virtual academy that will require students to commit for one semester. However, many students have yet to specify their preference, which Clayton said impedes planning and staff assignments.
“We can’t officially begin planning until we know where the vast majority of our students are going to land in terms of in-person or the virtual academy,” Clayton said. “What that does is it challenges our principals in making these staffing decisions. So as we sit right now, July 30, our schools have not been able to assign their staff with confidence because again there’s that many intent forms that are out there.”
Clayton hoped that by delaying the start of school, the district might have more time to urge parents to register, which they can do online at warrencounty schools.org.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.