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JCPS Superintendent confident schools will reopen this year, despite NTI extension

We will not go back to anything normal this school year, so whether that's hybrid once we get back the rest of the way or social distancing and masks."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools was originally planning to welcome students and staff back in the school buildings starting October 22, but Superintendent Marty Pollio says Louisville's COVID-19 data is going in the "wrong direction."

"All along this time I've been saying if the data supports it that's what we will do," Pollio said. 

Pollio addressed the NTI extension during an event about a Verizon Innovative Learning program at Carrithers Middle School Friday.

The Superintendent said he is confident students will be able to return to in-person classes at some point this academic year.

"This entire school year will be impacted by this COVID-19," Pollio said. "We will not go back to anything normal this school year, so whether that's hybrid once we get back the rest of the way or social distancing, masks."

RELATED: JCPS extends NTI until 'significant reduction' in Louisville COVID-19 cases

As of Thursday the data showed Jefferson County's incidence rate was at 24.2 cases per 100,000 people. The Department of Public Health defines 25 cases per 100,000 people as the "red zone" – the critical category.

"My granddaughter actually looks forward to interacting with the students and teachers every day," Sherry Disney said who has a 5-year-old granddaughter at Sanders Elementary School. "It was challenging learning the systems and how to access the meeting but once we all learned that and got comfortable with it, I don’t have any problems with [NTI] now."

Disney's granddaughter is one of thousands in the school district who will continue taking part in the non-traditional instruction. 

"I was sort of disappointed because I would like for her to be going to school and interacting with the other students and the teachers in a classroom setting," Disney said. "But I understand because of the dangers of contracting COVID-19."

Pollio said based on the response from about 50,000 JCPS families, about 60 percent favor in-person classes when schools reopen while the other 40 percent prefer staying virtual. 

Disney said she is still unsure whether she would feel safe sending her granddaughter to in-person classes when schools reopen. 

"If they could socially distance [students] but I think that's going to be something that would be hard to do in JCPS because of the number of students in each classroom," Disney said. 

JCPS will discuss a more detailed plan for its safe return to in-person classes at next Tuesday's board meeting. 

RELATED: School report cards show magnet schools top other JCPS schools in graduation rates

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