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Board of Education to vote on Dr. Pollio’s recommendation for JCPS Tuesday

Dr. Pollio recommended the district stick with virtual learning through the end of October, with plans to resume in-person classes starting Oct. 22.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Update: The Board of Education voted to approve Dr. Pollio's recommendation Tuesday night.The board is expected to meet again next month to reevaluate.

The Jefferson County Board of Education is set to vote on the next step for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Tuesday.

Last week, Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio recommended that the district continue with non-traditional instruction (NTI) through the end of October. 

Parents are divided. Some want to keep their kids home and continue with NTI, while others think their kids need to be in a school building.

Alyson Cleyman wants her third and sixth grade daughters to go back to school. She is a single mom and says there aren’t many options for parents like her.  

“A lot of people say, ‘oh well the school’s not a babysitter,’” Cleyman said. “However when you have an autistic child like I do, having a babysitter or a daycare option is not an option for me.”

Because she doesn’t have a childcare option, Cleyman can’t work. Cleyman said she was ineligible to get rental assistance because her work didn’t close because of COVID, the schools did.

“Everybody’s saying our kids don’t need to go back to school yet, but those options are coming from two parent households or households that are financially secure,” Cleyman said.

In his recommendation, Dr. Pollio said some students could begin returning to in-person classes starting on Oct. 22.

Per Dr. Pollio’s plan, students would return to school based by grade following this schedule:

Oct 22: Elementary students
Oct. 29: 6th and 9th grade students
Nov. 2: 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students

Dr. Pollio said the schedule is just a goal and would depend on the number of COVID-19 cases in the county.

Board member Dr. Kolb said most, if not all, of the board wants the county to be in the Kentucky Department of Education’s yellow zone for at least two weeks before returning.

That means fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people in the county.

Kolb said the county is not heading in the right direction, and it is not looking good to be able to reopen schools by those dates.

“As a community we’ve got a lot of work to do if we want our schools to be open,” Kolb said.

Kolb knows parents want their kids to go back to school – himself included. But it isn’t that simple.

“If it’s a choice between the challenges that we have, that are significant as both parents and students – if it’s a choice between that and leading to a bunch if people dying from COVID, unfortunately we’re going to have to choose continuing with NTI,” Kolb said.

But Cleyman says there is another problem other than COVID that some students will face, if NTI continues and their parents can’t work.

“The reason that we are against NTI isn’t because we don’t understand the risk of COVID, but we also understand there is a bigger risk of homelessness for children right now that’s more important,” Cleyman said.

The board is set to meet on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.

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