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Schools to remain closed for rest of academic year

Gov. Andy Beshear has recommended that Kentucky’s schools remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

The Kentucky Department of Education’s Twitter account sent the following message Monday afternoon: “Following a conversation with @kycommissioner and @GovAndyBeshear, it’s been recommended Kentucky schools do not return to in-person classes for the rest of the 2019-2020 year. Our schools will continue @MyNTIky in order to reach 1,062 instructional hours. More info soon. #KyEd”

Neither Clark County Superintendent Paul Christy nor Board of Education Chair Ashley Ritchie could not be reached for comment before press time, but the school district posted on its website that as of 2 p.m., the governor and the commissioner of education had announced that schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year.

“We are processing the closure announcement and will follow with more information as it becomes available,” the school district’s statement said.

Monday evening, the Department of Education issued a news release that said Beshear recommended that the closure that began March 16 should continue even after Kentucky reaches phase one of the federally-recommended guidelines for reopening the state.

Earlier, the governor had recommended that schools remain closed until May 1.

Beshear said he would not be able to recommend the state resume in-person classes this school year.

“It’s just not going to be safe for our kids, it’s not going to be safe for our families, and it could frustrate all the gains we have made to this point,” he said in a statement.

In conjunction with the governor’s announcement, the Kentucky Department of Education released a plan to maximize instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows districts to continue to use non-traditional instruction time for the rest of the school year as districts attempt to reach the equivalent of 1,062 hours of instructional time.

“Our schools have been closed to in-person classes, but our schools have not been closed. This does provide you some certainty, though,” Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown said in a statement. “Here is something that we’re going to be able to do at the state level that I think will assist everyone.”

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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