Christy suspends in-person classes until Jan. 4

Superintendent Paul Christy has ordered the suspension of all in-person classes for Clark County Schools students in pre-kindergarten through high school.

His decision followed an executive order Gov. Andy Beshear issued Nov. 18  in response to an alarming surge in coronavirus cases.

The governor’s emergency order, which also temporarily closed restaurant dining rooms and limited social gatherings to slow the rate of infection from the deadly illness, applies to both public and private schools, but a federal judge ruled this week that the governor cannot close religious private schools. The governor immediately appealed the ruling to a higher court.

The governor ordered that schools cease in-person instruction and resume virtual instruction on Nov. 23. Middle and high schools must continue distance learning until Jan. 4, but elementary schools may reopen Dec. 7 if their county is no longer in the red zone on the COVID-19 incidence rate map, meaning that it would have fewer than 25 active cases of the virus per 100,000 population.

Clark County’s incidence rate Nov. 24 was 44.95, and it had 151 active cases among its population of more than 36,000.

Christy’s order goes further than the governor’s, requiring that kindergarten and elementary school students also remain in virtual learning until Jan. 4.

This is contrary to the intention of the local school board, which on Nov. 16 refused, 3-2, to approve a motion, supported by Christy, to suspend in-person learning until after Christmas break. However, according to the board’s own policy, the superintendent has the authority to close schools whenever he thinks conditions are unsafe.

In his letter of Nov. 24 to the school district’s staff and families, Christy said he was making the decision to suspend in-person instruction for pre-K through 12th grade students.

“This pause of in-person instruction will permit our teachers to deliver a more consistent distance learning platform. As a reminder, all parents/guardians, please continue to contact your student’s school for assistance or online support,” Christy wrote.

 

Student meals

The superintendent also mentioned in his letter, which is on the homepage of the Clark County Public Schools website, that beginning Dec. 1, the district would resume delivering meals to bus stops.

Anyone who did not participate in the initial bus stop meal delivery program and would now like to should contact Central Office at 859-744-4545, or visit clarkschools.net and complete the survey located directly under Students/Parents.

Students who already participated in the initial bus stop meal program do not need to do anything else.

“We will continue to work with our local health department using COVID-19 daily updates regarding Clark County’s current status to assess what is best for the safety of all stakeholders,” Christy wrote. “Stopping the increase of local cases and in order to provide our students with in-person instruction will require all of us working together as a community.”

The superintendent asked that people avoid crowds, stay at home when possible, wear masks, regularly wash their hands, and maintain at least six feet of distance from others.

School district residents may refer to Clark County Public Schools’ websites and social media accounts for updates and current school activity changes.

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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