A plan for Kentucky schools to reopen in the fall is being formed and will focus on the use of masks, social distancing, sanitation, temperature checks, and contact tracing.
Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman said Monday a group of education leaders from across the state – including superintendents, principals, teachers, school board members, officials from Health and Family Services, Department of Public Health, officials from the governor’s office, and others – are working together on a task force to develop recommendations for reopening schools. Coleman also noted a group of bipartisan legislators, including Sen. Reggie Thomas (D), Sen. Max Wise (R), Rep. Tina Bojanowski (D), and Rep. Regina Huff (R), are joining the task force.
Coleman said they are working on a culture of support for schools to help implement best practices including masks, temperature checks, social distancing, and more at the local level, which she noted will look different in different areas across the state.
Gov. Andy Beshear said as Kentucky works on students going back to school, the state needs to be thinking about the kids coming home from school including limiting the exposure of students to vulnerable populations.
There will be some things that are mandatory and some things that are strongly recommended, the governor said.
Beshear added his administration knows Kentucky students have to get back to school, but it will be a struggle to do it completely safety and any plans will focus on balancing the health and well-being of students and all other Kentuckians with the need to get them back in the classroom.
Also, on Monday, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) directed school districts Monday to prepare for short, medium and long-term COVID-19 closures next school year. According to WDRB, KDE stated as districts prepare to reopen for the 2020-21 school year, they should be ready to close from anywhere between one to more than 11 days.
Beshear said at his press conference it is common to see viruses and other illnesses spread rapidly within a school and the state will be focused on recommendations for superintendents for schools and school districts to be able to close in a “targeted and surgical” way depending on the size of an outbreak.