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School meetings to be online only

Classroom learning and sports aren’t the only school-related activities to have fallen victim to the coronavirus.

Beginning Monday, all school meetings must be online only until further notice.

The Clark County Board of Education was scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, to discuss several topics, including student enrollment in the virtual and virtual/in-person hybrid instruction models and rules regarding who has the authority to cancel sports events and extracurricular activities. But then the meeting itself had to go virtual.

Arlene Nance, Superintendent Paul Christy’s administrative assistant, sent out an email Monday informing people that the meeting would be online only, and the message was posted on the CCPS website, www2clarkschools.net.

The memo said Central Office had received information that morning from the Clark County Health Department that the COVID-19 daily incident rate for the county had gone up and that the county was in the “red zone,” the critical category marked by the rate being at least 25 cases per 100,000 population.

According to numbers that are “closer to home” for the Clark County Public Schools, there are currently 62 in-person students, 77 virtual students and 69 staff members who are quarantined, the statement said.

“Given the surge of cases in Clark County,” together with the governor’s guidelines and directives of the state and local health departments, “it has been recommended that all meetings occur virtually,” the message said.

It said members of the public could watch Monday night’s board meeting on the school district’s YouTube channel, and members of the public would have an opportunity to comment at Central Office.

“Members who desire to speak will come in, sign up to speak, and provide a contact number. Then during the meeting, each speaker will be contacted, they will come in and speak and upon the conclusion of their comment, the next speaker will be directed to the camera and the person who has just finished speaking will exit the building. This process will continue until all individuals who have signed up have been able to speak to the board,” the email said.

The members will be meeting from home using the digital video application Google Meet. Christy and a staff member will be at the office to allow people to come in and speak to the camera one at a time and exit through a side door.

In a phone interview, Christy talked about the effect COVID-19 has had on sporting events.

The entire girls’ basketball team is currently quarantined, he said, and a cheerleader has tested positive, so the cheerleading team may be quarantined as well.

“That’s scary, and the only way to stop it is to stop them from getting together,” he said.

All sports have been temporarily suspended except for the football team, which is currently under a different set of rules, those of the Kentucky High School Athletics Association, because they are in the playoffs.

Christy said all the surrounding counties except Woodford and Scott had already gone to virtual classes.

“We’re the only county around that’s still trying to stay in-person,” Christy said.

But he doesn’t want to do in-person classes when the numbers of infections are so high and he has staffing issues because of quarantining.

“The numbers are through the roof,” he said.

Christy said it’s possible the governor may intervene and impose statewide mandates regarding school activities.

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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