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Gov. Andy Beshear announces new executive order requesting schools expand in-person learning; JCPS expected to vote Thursday

The order calls for all Kentucky districts, including private schools to open on March 1 or at least 7 days after teachers receive their second COVID-19 vaccine.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear has issued an executive order requesting schools around Kentucky to begin in-person learning beginning March 1.

The executive order wants all school districts, including private schools to offer or expand some for of in-person learning on that date or at least 7 days after school staff and personnel have received their second COVID-19 vaccination.

"At the end of the day, we didn't vaccinate our educators for nothing," Beshear said. "We did this because we all know that we need some form of in-person learning."

Nearly all except for six school districts in the state offer in-person learning or a hybrid model to cut down on COVID-19 transmission while following CDC and state guidelines.

Schools must abide by new guidelines to remain open and they include:

  • Staff, educators and students must wear face masks
  • Density reduction in classrooms, halls, school buses and other areas of heightened risk
  • Evaluate school buildings’ ventilation systems and consider appropriate safety procedures
  • Provide meaningful, virtual options for all students
  • Regularly review incidence rate map to appropriately plan school activities to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission

"A couple of educators today made a really good point to me that if you have students that are virtual, you have teachers that are going to teach the students virtual, so you can't take the remaining students that are coming in-person and put them all in one room and simply have an empty room between them," Beshear said. "You've got to figure out how to spread them out."

School districts will also have to do their part in monitoring incidence rates in their communities.

Jefferson County Public Schools held a special school board meeting Tuesday night to ask local doctors questions about the safety of going back in-person.

All four doctors, including those from Norton Healthcare, UofL Health and Louisville Metro Public Health, all stated they believe the school district could safely return to in-person instruction.  

The board will now meet Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. to hear the district's formal recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio, and take a vote. 

"Late today, we learned the governor has further addressed a return to in-person instruction with an executive order. As chair of the board, I will be calling a special meeting of this board for Thursday, February 25 to be devoted to voting upon a return to in-person instruction. The addition of 48 hours from tonight will give the board and the community additional time to review and digest tonight's information, as well as the other recent information from the legislature, the governor and KDE."