news_reopening071020-2.jpg

New purple swivel chairs with tablet desks sit in rows as workers from Office Resource Inc. assemble furniture in the new Bowling Green High School building on Thursday, July 9, 2020, after the Bowling Green Independent School District announced its tentative reopening plans for students in the fall. (Grace Ramey/photo@bgdailynews.com)

Sounding an alarm about escalating coronavirus cases, Gov. Andy Beshear asked schools Monday to delay the start of in-person classes until the third week of August, which could impact the reopening plans of local schools.

“By waiting until the third week of August, we believe it gives us a chance to get this thing under better control. … My concern is that if schools start before this when we’re seeing an escalation of the virus we’ll see cases in schools,” Beshear said Monday.

Beshear pointed to an increase in the state’s overall infection rate. His recommendation to school districts Monday also came with an order to close bars across the state and to reduce restaurant capacity to 25%.

While he acknowledged the need to reopen schools for students, Beshear said doing that safely won’t be possible with an unchecked surge in virus cases.

“If we see a lot of early cases in schools, it will be harder to get all of our schools open for in-person classes,” he said. “It’s hard to argue we have a safe environment when our cases overall are escalating.”

Any changes to a district’s school calendar ultimately require approval by its local board of education.

Warren County Public Schools plans to open for in-person instruction Aug. 12, while the Bowling Green Independent School District is aiming for an Aug. 10 reopening date, albeit with its schools at half-capacity and students on alternating schedules for the first 10 days. Both districts are offering online academies for students who opt-in to them.

Following Beshear’s recommendation, local superintendents are conferring with their school boards.

“Superintendent (Rob) Clayton plans to discuss Gov. Beshear’s recommendation with the Warren County Board of Education to determine the district’s next steps,” WCPS tweeted in a statement after Beshear’s announcement Monday.

Bowling Green schools Superintendent Gary Fields is also conferring with the district’s board and said it could take action this week.

“We will have to amend our calendar,” Fields said. “I anticipate a special meeting this week.”

Beshear’s announcement wasn’t a complete surprise to school superintendents, Fields said. Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown recently asked superintendents to delay reopening their schools for in-person classes until after Aug. 15, according to media reports.

That said, Fields wasn’t sure if delaying the return of in-person instruction by one week would help.

“I’m having a hard time understanding what is going to be so dramatically different,” he said Tuesday.

Fields said he understands that many parents want their children to be back in school and said the district’s goal is to make a decision about the start of school that will not require revisiting. In-person instruction is also ideal when it comes to addressing any learning gaps that may have been worsened while students have been out of their classrooms, Fields said.

“We understand that everybody’s counting on us,” he said, adding the district’s goal is to offer parents “as firm of a start date as we can.”

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.

(1) comment

Dr. Strangelove

As of July 28th, 2020, according to the KY COVID reporting of the KY Dept. of Health, at least 599,251 people have been tested for COVID-19

Of that number, 28,126 have tested positive, which is 4.7% of this large sample size.

Of this known sampled quantity 719 people have died. This represents a mortality 0.12% of the entire sampled population of 599,251.

And my question stands; Why are we going through all this dictatorial fear mongering and hyper-reaction that is effecting our citizens far more than this what this virus impacts? Especially knowing the age demographics that it effects the elderly by far (90.7% of deaths are 60+ years of age) Besides this being unconstitutional, which is unbelievable. No science here folks, just politics and stupidity.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.