LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) could possibly return to in-person classes by the end of October, according to a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio.
In a press conference Friday, Dr. Pollio said he would recommend that the Board of Education vote to continue non-traditional instruction (NTI) through late October.
If COVID-19 cases in the area are on the decline, Dr. Pollio said the district's goal is to have students resume in-person classes starting Oct. 22. Elementary students would return first, followed by 6th and 9th grade students a week late on Oct. 29. The rest of the grades would ideally return to schools by Nov. 2.
Dr. Pollio stressed that this schedule is not a set plan, but a goal, if COVID-19 cases are on the decline.
Students who are not comfortable with returning to school may opt for a virtual option and teachers who are considered "high-risk" of getting the coronavirus would also be accommodated.
JCPS parent Dawn Haynes isn't quite ready to send her 10th grader back to school, even in October, and says she will choose the virtual option.
“I think if we were in the yellow in a safe spot I might feel more comfortable but right now I think October is a little too soon to decide she’s going back in the classroom,” Haynes said.
Parent Terri White has been impressed with Pollio’s leadership, and will follow his guidance for her two kids come October.
“I believe that he's going to do everything in his power to keep our kids safe," White said. "So I'm going to go ahead and send them back.”
Dr. Pollio's recommendation will have to be approved by the Jefferson County Board of Education before it goes into effect.
"We want to ensure health, first and foremost. Our team continues to work through logistics of reopening school and we are ready to go," Dr. Pollio said.
In July, the Jefferson County Board of Education unanimously voted to approve the plan to begin the district's 2020-2021 school year with non-traditional instruction for the first six weeks of school.
JCPS students and faculty began what the district called "NTI 2.0" on Aug. 25. with all 97,170 students learning from home.
However, the district did run into some issues with online learning. JCPS spokesperson Renee Murphy confirmed that some middle and high school classrooms were disrupted by "inappropriate behavior" during live online learning on the first day of school.
The struggles of COVID-19 also further drew attention to the "digital divide" between families within the district. JCPS did take several steps to bridge that divide by making sure every student had internet access and a computer, providing hot spots and Chromebooks to those who needed them.