LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) students will be back from break and back in the classroom again starting Tuesday to start the Spring semester.
With COVID-19 surging in Louisville, families and staff say they're preparing the best they can -- in some cases for the inevitable: Increased infections inside school walls.
JCPS spokesperson Renee Murphy said as of Thursday, the school district is planning to keep protocol the way it was to end Fall semester. Kids and faculty will return in person as normal with masks, while also having Test-to-Stay and Test-to-Play options.
"We're obviously very aware of the community circumstances," Murphy said. "Our safety mitigation measures will still be in place. Our goal has always been to have students in school learning, and to keep COVID out."
But Murphy said JCPS is concerned how current rates of spread could affect staffing, leading to more teachers potentially out at the a time.
Jefferson County Teacher's Association Vice President Tammy Berlin worries it could worsen an existing shortage, including with substitute teachers.
"Already, we've had a lot of teachers having to cover for their colleagues when they're out or when positions are open, and [when] they're aren't subs," Berlin said.
According to Murphy, JCPS-run sites (all high schools) have tested a total of 15,877 people made up of students, staff and family members over the course of winter break.
2,170 have come out positive.
Just on Wednesday alone, Murphy says nearly 4,000 people got tested at JCPS locations -- a sign that the threat of the Omicron variant has been on people's minds this holiday season in Louisville.
"We have seen the increase in people who have come to our locations during winter break," Murphy said.
As we see record spread in the Metro, the attention for many people turns to safety as public schools go back in session.
JCPS teacher and parent Nicole Brown said her family is taking every measure in preparation for this new threat.
"It's a real scary situation for all of us," Brown said. "[Recently], Both of my older kids got their boosters, and my youngest got her second shot."
JCPS still has 10 Non-Traditional Instruction days -- meaning virtual -- to use this school year. They didn't use any last semester, and the school district says for now, the intention and hope is for it to stay that way.
Five JCPS COVID-19 testing sites will offer extended hours today. Each testing site will be open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The locations include:
- Academy @ Shawnee (4001 Herman St.)
- Ballard High School (6000 Brownsboro Rd.)
- Marion C. Moore School (6415 Outer Loop)
- Southern High School (8620 Preston Hwy. )
- Valley High School (10200 Dixie Hwy.)
JCPS will also be offering another vaccination clinic aimed at English as a Second Language (ESL) students and families who received their first dose on Dec. 18. It will be held at Newcomer Academy on Saturday, January 8th, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Registration is encouraged. For more info, click here. If you have any questions regarding the clinic, you can call 502-485-3623.