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JCPS schools getting ready for NTI return

The district announced Sunday students would have Monday off to get ready, then would learn remotely Tuesday through Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tuesday, Jan. 11 Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) students will have their first of four non-traditional instruction (NTI) days announced by the district Sunday night.

It comes as COVID cases and quarantines make staffing classrooms a struggle. 

Superintendent Marty Pollio said in a news conference Jan. 10, the district was short as many as 600 substitutes last week. 

There was no school Jan. 10 so teachers and students could have the day to prepare.

At Portland Elementary, Kindergarten teacher Alyssa Jones still came in to work on her teaching website and class preparations. 

"The good part is we've done NTI before," she said. "So we're not reinventing the wheel. Instruction in person versus NTI is just a little different."

Jefferson County Teachers Association's Brent McKim said some teachers have questions about whether or not they should be working today. 

"This is like a snow day, we have a few schools that schedule meetings which they really shouldn't of done because it's a totally closed day," McKim said. 

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McKim said many teachers saw the writing on the wall, and prepared already, anticipating the switch to NTI. 

Portland Elementary Principal Michelle Perkins said that was the case for many of her teachers, though the school itself wasn't plagued with the same COVID issues of other buildings. 

"They're just rolling with it, we did this last year and a lot of the things they're doing we've had in place," she said. “When you’re a teacher, this is the mission work in the field that you just adjust to." 

Staff at Portland handed out a few remaining Chromebooks to families Monday, to get technology in students' hands for tomorrow. 

Parent Brian Crutcher said he was caught off guard by JCPS's Sunday announcement about moving to NTI. 

"About the time she was getting ready to get things together for bed was when I got the text message, so it's pretty frustrating," he said. 

Crutcher said thankfully, he's a stay-at-home dad, and doesn't have to miss work to take care of his daughter. 

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Monday, Pollio said he understood the decision would be a challenge for parents, but that the district was trying to maximize in-person learning time as much as possible. 

The district only has 10 NTI days to use for the year. Any additional days would have to be made up at the end of the semester, before June 30. 

"I'm hoping this eventually gets resolved and we get the COVID down enough to where she can stay in school," Crutcher said. "Because this has been a nightmare."

After this week, JCPS will have six NTI days remaining. Pollio said any decisions about extending NTI further would likely come next Monday. 

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