March 18 last day to change from online to in-person classes

RANDY PATRICK

Sun Reporter

Monday was the first day for a return to in-person learning for Clark County public school students, but about a quarter of students are still doing all of their classes online.

Those students may still do distance learning if that is what their parents choose, but if they want to rejoin other students in the classrooms, this Thursday is the last day they can switch. Likewise, if any who feel uncomfortable having their kids in brick-and-morter schools because of the coronavirus pandemic, they may switch to virtual learning on Thursday. After that, they are locked in for the rest of the semester, Christy said.

“We still have all our virtual staff in place, and that will continue,” he said, but he expects more students to join in-person learning now that the virus infection numbers are coming down.

Christy said that currently, just over 24 percent of students are virtual and a little under 75 percent are in-person.

“I expect to see it go up a little more over the next three days,” he told the school board Monday night.

After COVID-19 was discovered in Kentucky in March 2020, all schools shut down overnight per the governor’s orders, and students had to learn from home, mostly online. Schools issued Chromebooks to the students and put in place a universal plaform, Google Classroom, while businesses, churches and other institutions offered free parking lot WiFi access for students who didn’t have access to the internet at home. Some students picked up packets of paper material to do their work.

Then for the last month or so, students were in hybrid learning, with one half of a school’s students in classrooms two days a week and in distance learning three days a week. The reason for hybrid was to allow students’ desks to be spaced several feet apart to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. But after the viral spread slowed and most teachers had gotten vaccines, the governor recommended students return to the classrooms.

Masks are still required except when eating, and students are spaced as far apart as possible. But Christy said some classrooms are back to almost full capacity.

The superintendent said the first day back went better than expected.

“We’re in pretty good shape right now,” he said.

He said there are currrently only 25 in the schools who are in quarantine because of having the virus or being exposed to someone with the virus.

Christy said teachers and other school employees who received coronavirus vaccinations through a partnership between the Clark County Health Department and the school district were now 16 days past their second shots.

Asked how many of the faculty had received the shots, Christy said, “We think about 70 percent have gotten it, but it’s hard to tell.”

Some could have gotten vaccinated somewhere else and didn’t report it, he explained.

“There is actually no way you can get an accurate number,” he said.

The superintendent said some who had been reluctant to get the vaccine have changed their minds, and so there is going to be another vaccination clinic available for those teachers and school personnel.

Christy said there are plans to have an in-person prom and an in-person graduation this year.

He also mentioned that Clark County Public Schools are hosting basketball and other tournaments at its facilities, which will be “a huge revenue thing.”