By Kaitlyn Wilson
In order to prepare for the upcoming school year, the McCreary County School District has released a survey for all parents of enrolled students. This survey is to gather thoughts from parents on how they would prefer to send their children back to school for the year and will be used to aid the school board in making a decision by July 13th. This feedback is important for the school board so that they may make a decision that appropriately reflects the needs of the students. At the end of the survey, there is the option for parents to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the upcoming school year. Parents are encouraged to visit the board’s Facebook page to fill out the survey, or they may take it through this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSft-jEjkxjfiYLdUcotpq179vKrBaZV1xmGKRfn3ld0cKyymg/viewform?usp=pp_url.
According to Superintendent Corey Keith, the only definite, pending board approval, so far is that the start of school will be postponed a couple of weeks, to somewhere around the week of August 26th. This gives the district more time to monitor the changing COVID-19 situation and to prepare an appropriate plan. Other than this, there are several ways that school could look like this year and the board hopes to have a decision by mid-July. Currently, there are only three options per the survey, but there may be other options later on.
The first option is to open schools as normal, with a five-day school week for everyone. However, with this option there would be little room for social distancing due to the number of students in the classroom so students may have to wear face coverings such as cloth masks during class. The second option is for students to go on a rotating schedule, where half of the student body would attend in person some days while the other half works from home, and then they would alternate. There are three potential schedules with the rotation. Students could either spend Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday at school and work from home the other days, Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday at school and other days at home, or alternate weeks with some students spending Monday through Friday at school one week and then spend the next Monday through Friday at home the next week. If this is the chosen option, then there would be more room for social distancing so that face coverings would not be required during class. The final option gives parents the ability to keep their children home from school. If the parents decide that they are uncomfortable sending their child to school, then there is the option to hold classes remotely, much like how students finished up the previous school year. This would involve a combination of online programs, videos from teachers, and other resources based upon individual needs. The District also plans on sending home Chromebooks for the students who would need them. Those students with internet access would be able to complete their lessons online, but those without would be provided with a portable drive.
These three options are based upon guidelines released from the Governor as part of the Healthy at School initiative that details the expectations needed to keep students healthy and safe during the upcoming school year. In order to meet social distancing expectations, students are to remain at least six feet apart as often as possible and are expected to wear cloth face masks whenever this is not possible. Since masks have been shown to slow the spread of the virus, all students who are in first grade and above and all staff are required to wear them. These masks should fit snugly but comfortably over the mouth and nose, be secured against the face with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, and allow for breathing without restriction.
For more information regarding guidelines for the upcoming school year, you can view the document released by the Kentucky Department of Education and Governor’s office at https://education.ky.gov/comm/Documents/Safety%20Expectations_FINAL%20DOC.pdf.