District looks at offering limited virtual option alongside in-person classes
By Eugenia Jones
Instead of returning to classes today as anticipated, students and staff got a reprieve when the McCreary County Board of Education voted during a special called meeting on Monday to amend the 2021/22 school calendar by postponing the first day of school for students until Tuesday, August 31. Opening day for teachers is now scheduled for August 30. Due to “banked” time within the original 2021/22 school calendar and legislation regarding school calendars with start dates prior to September 1, the remainder of the school calendar remains unchanged.
In additional business, the Board discussed the possibility of implementing a limited virtual option for students who might be unable to attend in-person classes. The Board had previously voted against having a virtual option for the 2021/22 school year; however, with the recent upswing of COVID-19 cases and surrounding districts offering virtual options, the Board seemed open to establishing a virtual option for McCreary County students. Superintendent Corey Keith noted some possible components of the virtual option including:
-Teachers will not be required to do both virtual and in-person instruction.
-A virtual option will be platform based and offer many resources.
-Students contracting for the virtual option must have demonstrated prior success with virtual options.
-Students must commit to a semester of virtual learning.
-Students must commit to some in-person assessments.
-Students must demonstrate daily progress.
-Daily attendance checks and home visits are included in the virtual option.
Superintendent Keith said he would take input and work on a virtual option plan to share with Board Members at a future meeting. The Board will decide at that time if a virtual option will be implemented in the McCreary County schools.
During the meeting, three parents (including two educators) voiced concerns about their own children and their students in class being forced to wear masks at school.
“I teach kindergarten, and I just can’t see making them wear masks,” one said.
Initially, the McCreary County School System did not require face coverings inside school for the 2021/22 school year. However, KY’s Governor has since signed an executive order requiring face coverings be worn inside at all KY public/private schools. Superintendent Keith did note the district plans to provide a form for students who cannot wear face coverings due to health conditions. The form must be signed by a physician.
A fourth parent voiced her concern about the District’s current lack of a virtual option. The parent noted health concerns with her child and other members of her family. She also noted her child had been very successful with last year’s virtual instruction.
The McCreary County Board of Education meets in regular session on the fourth Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Office.